Left-hander Scott Kazmir and Michael Brantley primed the Indians for what lies straight ahead -- a four-game series with the AL Central-leading Tigers starting Monday night at Progressive Field. Kazmir pitched six scoreless innings Sunday and Brantley provided elbow room with another big two-out single as the Indians beat Miami 2-0 at Marlins Park. The Indians have won 10 of their past 11 games but still trail the Tigers by three games. "It's going to be high intensity" said Kazmir referring to the Detroit series. "I know we're ready for it. We're in a good spot and we'll see what happens." Kazmir (7-4 3.89) Bryan Shaw Joe Smith and Chris Perez combined on a four-hitter for the Tribe's MLB-high 15th shutout. "I wish we had 30" said manager Terry Francona "but 15 shows you we're getting solid pitching." The 15 shutouts are the most by the Indians since they had 17 in 1976. Brantley with the Tribe clinging to a 1-0 lead singled with two outs in the eighth to score Mike Aviles from third for a 2-0 lead. Brantley is hitting .383 (18-for-47) with two out and runners in scoring position. In this instance he singled on a 3-2 pitch from Chad Qualls to end an 0-for-14 slump. "Qualls is a great pitcher" said Brantley. "It was a long at-bat. I fouled off a couple of pitches at 3-2 and then he left a sinker up. It gave us some breathing room." The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the second on Lonnie Chisenhall's single. Yan Gomes started the rally by beating out an infield single on a close play. Mark Reynolds doubled off the fence in left field to chase Gomes to third. It was Reynolds' first extra base hit since he homered on June 28 in the second game of a doubleheader against the White Sox. With runners on first and third the inning ended when Kazmir grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Kazmir made the 1-0 lead stand through six innings. He was removed in the seventh for pinch-hitter Jason Giambi. The Indians had runners on second and third with one out but Giambi fouled out to third and Michael Bourn lined out to right. "I wasn't even thinking about the 1-0 lead" said Kazmir. "I was just thinking about attacking hitters. Right now I think I'm better than I was four or five years ago. I think I'm wiser and have a couple of more pitches." In his 20th start of the season Kazmir struck out seven walked two and allowed two hits. After Ed Lucas doubled on a 3-2 pitch with one out in the first the Marlins didn't have another hit until Christian Yelich singled with one out in the sixth. Kazmir finished the inning with two straight strikeouts. Nathan Eovaldi (2-2 3.19) making his ninth start of the season caught the Indians' attention when he hit 100 mph in the first inning on a pitch to Jason Kipnis. The next pitch a 99 mph fastball was deposited in center field for a single by Kipnis. After giving up a run in the second Eovaldi shut down the Tribe. Including Kazmir's double play to end the second he recorded 10 straight outs before Kazmir ended the streak with a two-out single in the fifth. It was his second hit in the big leagues and his first since 2007.
Kazmir strikes out seven as Indians blank Marlins 2-0
Cleveland Plain Dealer | Aug 5