CLEVELAND — Asdrubal Cabrera had one of those games he’d like to forget Sunday at Progressive Field, but his performance will likely be remembered for a while.
Cabrera, a Gold Glove candidate and starting shortstop for the American League in the All-Star Game last year, had committed just three errors through the Indians’ first 64 games. But in No. 65, he matched his season total in a 9-5 loss to the Pirates that gave Pittsburgh the interleague series win.
All of Cabrera’s errors were about as costly as possible, contributing to eight runs, with two of them coming on the same play to ignite a six-run fifth inning for Pittsburgh.
Topping off his embarrassing Father’s Day effort, Cabrera was also thrown out trying to stretch a double in the ninth inning after failing to run hard out of the batter’s box.
“It was a really bad day for me,” said Cabrera, who played a large part in Cleveland’s fifth loss in six games.
Cabrera’s two-out throwing error in the fourth led to Pittsburgh’s first runs of the game when Pedro Alvarez followed with a three-run home run off Cleveland starter Jeanmar Gomez to put the Pirates up 3-2.
But Cabrera’s botched double-play attempt in the next inning was more critical.
With the Pirates leading 4-2 on a solo home run from Alex Presley, and the bases loaded and one out, Casey McGehee sent a grounder to Cabrera, who mishandled the ball before trying to bat it with his hand to second baseman Jason Kipnis.
A pair of runs scored on the play, with Alvarez following the error by belting another three-run homer that put the game away. Alvarez also went deep twice in Pittsburgh’s 9-2 victory over Cleveland on Saturday.
“That was the perfect ground ball you need for a double play,” Cabrera said. “Gomez was doing a pretty good job and I feel pretty bad. I think we lost the game right there.”
“Cabby had a rough day on the field,” manager Manny Acta said. “He’s human. He’s probably one of our best fielders. You want them to make every single play, but you also need to step back and know that this guy has won a lot of games for us with his glove. He just showed his human side today.”
It was a career-high error count in a game for Cabrera, who is the first Cleveland player to accomplish the dubious feat since third baseman Andy Marte, June 10, 2010. An Indians shortstop had not committed three errors in a game since Ramon Vazquez on June 11, 2006.
Gomez allowed eight runs (four earned) on seven hits over 4⅓ innings, failing to make it to the sixth inning for the fifth consecutive outing.
“You can’t put that on him today, because if we made the plays behind him, he was going to go deeper,” Acta said. “He has been struggling but I think he threw the ball better today.”
“It’s part of the game. We are human,” Gomez said of the errors. “Everybody makes errors or mistakes.”
Cleveland’s offense was on track early, generating four runs over the first four innings and chasing Pirates starter Brad Lincoln after the right-hander had logged just 3⅓ innings.
“We swung the bat well and probably scored enough runs to win the ballgame,” Acta said.
Pittsburgh, which had scored nine-plus runs just twice over its first 63 games, did so in its last two games of the series with the Indians.
Cleveland is in one of its worst stretches of the season, posting a 6-11 record since Memorial Day.
“You come out and play baseball,” said Acta, when asked how the Indians fix the problem. “That’s all there is to it. It’s a long, long season. There are a few teams that have had rougher times than we are having right now.
“These guys showed up and we were ready to win the ballgame and a couple of human physical errors stopped us from winning. There’s no magic potion. You just show up and play the game.”
The second-place Indians trail the White Sox by 1½ games in the Central Division standings.
“We’re still there,” Cabrera said. “There’s still two and half months left. We’ve got a pretty good team.”
Not on Sunday.
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• WHO: Cleveland vs. Cincinnati
• TIME: 7:05
• WHERE: Progressive Field
• PITCHERS: Lowe (7-5, 3.78 ERA) vs. Latos (5-2, 4.64)
• TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM