The Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox sat through a two-hour, 28-minute rain delay at Progressive Field on Wednesday.
Play finally began a little after 9:30 p.m.and wasn't over until an Asdrubal Cabrera home run lifted the Indians to a 7-4 win over the Red Sox at 2:02 a.m., the wee hours of Thursday morning.
It was worth the wait for the surging Tribe. Not just to earn the win, their 30th of the season, but to climb back to the .500 mark after being as many as six games under during May.
On May 18, Cleveland sat 10.5 games back of the American League Central leading Detroit Tigers. Now the Indians are just 3.5 games behind with a 30-30 record.
They've won six games in a row, sweeping a a series against the Colorado Rockies and most recently with the streaking Red Sox, who lost 10 in a row in the middle of May, rallied to win seven-straight at the end of the month, then dropping the three-game set in Cleveland.
The Indians gutted out each win of the homestand, outscoring opponents, 33-21.On Wednesday, Michael Bourn's two RBI double in the seventh inning did the trick after Cleveland surrendered a 3-0 lead, which it built in the first inning after five-straight singles to lead off.
Cabrera's Wednesday homer, his fifth of the season, broke a 4-4 tie and scored Mike Aviles and Michael Bourn.
Aviles came tthrough on May 31 with a three-home run to lift the Tribe to a 7-6 win over the Rockies. Bourn's two-run blast in the ninth inning completed the Colorado sweep on June 1 with a 6-4 win.
Clutch hits have been key, but strong starting pitching has led the way.
Starters have gone at least six innings in each of the past six games. Only Josh Tomlin and T.J. House went shorter, both pitching 5.2 innings on June 1 and June 3, respectively. Corey Kluber opened and close the homestand with brilliant performances and two wins.
Kluber, 28, has bounced up and down from Cleveland to Triple-A Columbus for the past four seasons. He's finally solidified his spot in the rotation and actually has evolved into the staff ace. Kluber sports a 3.23 earned run average and a 6-3 record.
In his two starts in the past week, Kluber struck out 16 in 13 innings.
Trevor Bauer is working his way into the rotation after beginning the year in Columbus. The third overall selection in the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft was acquired by the Indians from the Arizona Diamondbacks in Dec. of 2012. In his time as a Tribe starter, Bauer is 3-6 with a 4.85 ERA.
He tossed six innings in his most recent start, striking out eight.
Even House and Tomlin were effective in their shortened outings, earning no-decisions. Tomlin struck out eight and House struck out four.
They Indians do own the best home record in the American League at 21-11. Still, being the only Cleveland team in season, they're taking a backseat to most of the town's sports headlines.
Johnny Manziel's every move is documented as he gears up for his rookie season with the Browns and the Cavaliers are faced with the task of drafting the first overall player in this month's NBA Draft. Plus, the Cavs are beginning their campaign to woo LeBron James back to the city.
The Indians are currently last in the majors in terms of home attendance. Progressive Field averages 15,253 fans per game, which is 3,150 less than the next-to-last team - the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Indians are performing and the fans are flocking away. If the team can put everything together and climb the standings even more with upcoming road series against the Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals and Boston, the baseball world will take notice.
But will Cleveland, itself?
The Tribe's success has been worth the wait, so far. Their quick succession will likely continue. It's time to get on board.
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