Extra-Inning Duel brings out the Best in Playoff Teams

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Monday, May 28.

Sometimes, when playoff teams collide you get a special game even on an ordinary day.  That’s what happened yesterday in Cleveland when the defending champion Astros faced the Indians.  It took 14 innings for a decision to be reached, and it took the best effort of Indians’ rookie Greg Allen to give his team the 10–9 win.

Allen’s home run was just the final act of a drama that took most of yesterday to play out.   Early on, it seemed like the Astros’ Jose Altuve had salted away another game for his team. He had 4 hits before being retired in the 9th.  The 4 hits brought him to a total of 10 hits in as many atbats, an incredible feat.  It looked like the Astros would be 15 games above the .500 mark. Going to the last of the 9th the Astros had an 8–3 lead, the result of scoring 6 runs in the 8th.  The Indians rallied to tie the contest with the charge being capped off by an RBI single by Michael Brantley which tied the game at 8–8.  In the 13th, in a sign of the times we live in now, each side hit a solo home run. For the Astros’ part it was Evan Gattis, and on the Indians’ side it was Yonder Alonso hitting a solo home run to level the game. Brad Peackock came in to face the Indians in the 14th.  He only fired one salvo-a pitch which the Tribe’s Greg Allen took out of the park.  The team are 26-25, a game above .500.  Allen, 25 hit just his second home run as a big leaguer, and hit it at the best possible time for the club which drafted him in round 6 of the 2014 draft.  He studied at San Diego State, as did the Nationals’ Stephen Strasberg a few seasons earlier. His first home run was hit last September while Allen was a late call-up.

The Astros got 7 strong innings from Gerrit Cole, their late acquisition from the Pirates.  He gave up 4 hits and 3 runs in an excellent start. The bull pen didn’t cover themselves with glory, particularly Ken Giles.  Two starters had to be called in, Colin McHugh and Brad Peacock. For the Indians, Trevor Bauer struck out 13 men and lasted as long as the 8th inning, but gave up 4 runs in doing so. Evan Marshall followed Bauer to the hill but couldn’t get a man out.  All 3 men he saw got base hits and ultimately scored after he had been removed. The unfortunate Marshall now carries an ERA of nearly 17.  A life in the bull pen can do that. Ben Taylor gave up the 8th run. The next 3 relievers got by until Dan Otero gave up the home run to Gattis.  He was redeemed by Alonso’s home run, then got the Astros out in the 14th to claim the win when Allen hit his home run.

As today is Memorial Day, a number of games will be played this afternoon.  When this was a new holiday which was called Decoration Day, split doubleheaders were common-a game in the morning, another in the afternoon.  The Pirates were the last to hold onto the tradition of morning games on holidays.  The Astros don’t get any rest after yesterday’s marathon.  They have to move on and play the Yankees in the Bronx. Only 4 games will be played at night, and one of those is a make-up game between the Mets and Braves because of a rainout last month. The two teams also have an afternoon game on the slate. The latest game will start at 8 Eastern, 5 Pacific in Los Angeles where the Phillies and Dodgers have to deal with the shadows as well as the pitches from the opposition.

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