October 22, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
45°F

Angels 2, Indians 1: Tribe can’t find 9th-inning magic for 2nd straight night

CLEVELAND — The Indians had their rally caps on again Tuesday night at Progressive Field, only this time the Angels turned them back around.

Catcher Carlos Santana, right, confers with starting pitcher Josh Tomlin during the seventh inning last night. (AP photo.)

Catcher Carlos Santana, right, confers with starting pitcher Josh Tomlin during the seventh inning last night. (AP photo.)

For the second straight night Cleveland produced a ninth-inning uprising against its American League rival, but there was no winning hit and no victory celebration at the end of a 2-1 loss to Los Angeles.

The elements were present for another fantastic finish, with the Indians loading the bases with no outs against Angels closer Jordan Walden.

But they failed to score — Monday night’s hero Jason Kipnis striking out to end the game after Matt LaPorta bounced into a disastrous double play.

Kipnis’ first career hit, an RBI single Monday, lifted the Indians to their 11th win in their last
at-bat at home and their 23rd come-from-behind victory.

“They stopped the magic,” Indians manager Manny Acta said of the Angels, who handed his team its fifth loss in six games, with Cleveland falling two games behind the first-place Tigers in the Central Division standings. “We played good baseball. The only thing we couldn’t get was a key hit.”

That was the case for much of the night, which morphed into a pitching duel between Indians starter Josh Tomlin and Los Angeles’ Jered Weaver, the AL’s starter in the All-Star Game.

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Tomlin (11-5, 4.01 ERA) stayed with Weaver (14-4, 1.79) for the majority of the game, which was scoreless through six innings, as neither club was able to break through until the seventh.

That’s when Tomlin finally cracked, allowing a two-run double to Mark Trumbo that proved to be the game-winning hit. With a runner on, the Indians elected to walk Howie Kendrick to get to Trumbo, who made them pay, driving a ball into the gap in right-center.

The Indians also scored in the seventh on LaPorta’s solo home run, but it wasn’t enough to reward Tomlin for another quality effort.

“It’s definitely tough to lose one like that,” Tomlin said. “But I made more mistakes than (Weaver) did, and that’s why we lost the game.”

Tomlin allowed the two runs on just four hits, striking out three over eight innings. He has pitched at least five innings in each of his first 33 career starts, the only pitcher in baseball to accomplish as much since 1919.

“He was in complete command the whole night,” Acta said. “He made one mistake. It’s a shame that Tomlin had to lose it.”

The Indians had a handful of opportunities to get to Weaver before the ninth-inning rally.

Kipnis started the third with a leadoff double — the first hit off Weaver — and put another aboard on a one-out walk to Ezequiel Carrera, but Michael Brantley popped out and Asdrubal Cabrera grounded to second. Brantley also hit into a pair of double plays in the fifth and eighth innings.

Cleveland had runners on first and second with one out in the fourth before LaPorta flew out and Kipnis struck out.

But the most frustrating of failures arrived during the Indians’ last chance for a win.
Consecutive singles from Travis Hafner and Carlos Santana preceded a sacrifice bunt from Lonnie Chisenhall, who reached when the Angels tried unsuccessfully to cut down the lead runner at third.

That brought LaPorta to the plate with a chance to tie the game with a fly ball or win it with a hit. He did neither, bouncing a ground ball to second that was fielded by Kendrick, who threw home for the first out, with the relay beating LaPorta to first.

“He battled and got the count to 3-2,” Acta said of LaPorta. “But the bottom line is, ‘You get your pitches, you’ve got to hit them.’ ”

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.