Cleveland- The Cleveland Indians have now lost four straight games, their highest losing streak of the season. Tampa Bay scored two runs in the first inning and never looked back. Thursday night was not Cleveland’s night, as the Indians only managed four hits. Tampa Bay starter Ryan Yarbrough retired 12 straight Indians hitters until an Oscar Mercado single in the 6th inning.
Mercado would leave the game shortly after his hit, with a right hip contusion. The Indians outfielder collided with Leonys Martin in the top of the 6th inning as both were diving for a fly ball. Unfortunately for Cleveland this was the true turning point in the game. The Indians offense was struggling, but they were still only trailing 3-0, thanks to three home runs from the Rays line-up.
Tribe starter Adam Plutko (1-1, 6.35) allowed a career high in runs (7) and hits (12) Thursday night. The four home runs allowed marked the highest he’s given up in his career. After a tough first inning Plutko seemed to settle down until things fell apart in the sixth.
When Mercado and Martin ran into one another Tampa hitter Kevin Kiermaier scored an inside the park home-run. It was the second time Kiermaier hit an inside the park home run, last doing in 2014 against the Red Sox. The Indians on the other hand had not given one up since 2008.
Oscar Mercado on the scary collision with Leonys Martin in tonight’s loss. pic.twitter.com/ITks42WGcK
— SportsTime Ohio (@SportsTimeOhio) May 24, 2019
Cleveland was able to get two runs on the board in the sixth inning, thanks to a Jordan Luplow double. Luplow has four multi-RBI games in the last 12 games, bringing his season average to (.234). The Indians offense could not figure out Yarbrough, who earned his first win as a starting pitcher since (June 11, 2018.) He gave the Rays over seven innings of four hit, two run baseball, after being called up from Durham last night.
The Indians (25-24) return to action Friday night, when Shane Bieber toes the rubber against Blake Snell. Bieber tossed a career high 15 strikeout game in his last start against Baltimore. He was just the 15th pitcher since 1908 who recorded 15 strikeouts without a walk.