On a day dedicated to royalty, the reigning AL Cy Young winning pitcher for the Indians, Corey Kluber, dominated the Houston Astros, pitching five shutout innings, and finishing the game allowing only 2 runs, six hits with 10 strikeouts in 7 innings.
The only runs against Kluber came on a two run home run by Carlos Correa, a majestic 420 foot shot to deep left field in the sixth inning, his 8th.
Meanwhile Dallas Keuchel was ambushed early by the Tribe, scoring 3 runs in the first on a Michael Brantley home run and three succeeding back to back doubles. The first six batters faced by Keuchel hit the ball with an average exit velocity of 100.7 mph. It was the first time that Keuchel had allowed four extra base hits in an inning.
After the first Keuchel settled down, stopping the Tribe attack until the fifth inning. The Indians would add a run on a lucky two out swinging bunt single by Jose Ramirez to score Rajai Davis, who walked to open the inning.
The Indians’ final run would come on a 420 foot Jan Gomes solo home run off reliever Joe Smith in the sixth.
The Astros valiantly attempted a comeback but fell just short. Against a tiring Kluber, Yuli Gurriel opened the seventh inning with a double, who advanced to third on a Marwin Gonzalez ground out. However the next two Houston batters, Evan Gattis and last night’s hero Tony Kemp, were unable to plate Gurriel.
The Astros were 0-6 with runners in scoring position, after going 1-10 the night before. Clutch hitting remains a problem for the 2018 Astros.
However, the Stros did hit their second of three home runs in the eighth, an Alex Bregman 401 foot bullet to left center, his 4th, cutting the deficit to 2 runs.
But the inning was far from over. Jose Altuve would make one of the strangest hits ever, necessitating a perhaps unprecedented umpire ruling.
Jose hit a smash line drive off the bullpen fence in right field. The ball then slid onto the ledge of the padding half way down the fence and from there ricocheted to the right over the right field fence. The ball never touched the ground or a fielder. At first ruled a home run, the umpires changed the call to ground rule double. And since you already know that the Astros were o-fer with risp, Altuve did not score, although the next batter lofted one just about one foot from the wall in left field, in what looked to all like another Game 5 home run by Carlos Correa.
Altuve not scoring proved decisive, as Marwin Gonzalez hit a solo home run to right field to bring the Astros to within one run.
See game recap here.
See Correa’s monster blast here. Click below main video for Altuve’s “double.”
Box Score here.
Tomorrow’s game to decide the winner of the series will be televised on ESPN at 7:08 CDT. Lance McCullers will be facing Carlos Carrasco.