For the first time since mid-April, your Cleveland Indians will wake up Tuesday morning all alone in first place in the American League Central Division.
Using yet again the flair for the dramatic, the Indians blew a one-run ninth inning lead, but quickly finished off the Boston Red Sox with a solo homer from Carlos Santana to take home a 6-5 win.
The victory puts the team at 72-47 on the season, a half game ahead of the Minnesota Twins, who the Indians just took three of four against over the weekend. The Twins sit at 71-47 after being off Monday.
Brad Hand allowed for the second straight day the tying run to score in the 9th, but some of that blame has to go to Tyler Naquin, who misplayed a two-out fly ball that turned into a Xander Bogaerts double to tie the game.
For now, the fans are excited, the city has a first-place team again, and despite using 12 starters the team is alone in first place since April 20th.
Here’s a few takeaways from the win over the Red Sox
1. Clutch Carlos
What more can you say about the season that Carlos Santana has had in his return to the Indians? From hitting in the home run derby to being that one guy you want at the plate with the game on the line, Santana is truly the MVP of this team so far.
He once again came through with a huge hit in the 9th, starting off the inning by taking a few pitches and much like Sunday he waited for his pitch, and just got it over the yellow line for the game-winner.
Santana ends the night hitting .286 with 26 homers and 81 runs batted in for the first-place Tribe.
2. Plesac’s Night
Tribe starter Zach Plesac wasn’t super on in the win over the Sox, but still gave the team five innings, allowing three runs on seven hits against the World Series Champions.
He also at least went five when it looked like at times he might get run a bit early, but the good news in going five is that it set up the pen, which had to do some work, but for the most part got the job done until the 9th inning issues getting the Sox out before they scored the tying run.
Plesac on the season sits at 6-3 and has an ERA of 3.27. He will be back in action on Saturday when the Tribe plays in New York against the Yankees.
3. What About Hand?
Social media was quick to determine that Brad Hand is ‘overworked’ and even by one account ‘sucks’ but at the end of the day, he’s the closer for this team and in all but three outings has gotten the job done.
Yes it was another tough night as he allowed the tying run to score just like what happened Sunday in Minnesota, but as Tito Francona said in the postgame, sometimes you have to give credit to the team that did the hitting.
Hand might need a day off without question, but to simply start saying he shouldn’t be the closer or that he’s lost it is reaching – to say the least.