Indians Drop Series Finale To Twins; Twins 7, Indians 5
By Mike Brandyberry
Despite a gritty effort, from an undermanned team, the Indians lost the series finale 7-5 in Minnesota, Wednesday afternoon. Michael Brantley was unavailable for the second day in a row with a stomach virus. Travis Buck was still suffering from a headache from Tuesday evening’s hit by pitch.
Minnesota took an early lead when Alexi Casilla doubled home Ben Revere. Joe Mauer followed to single home Casilla and give the Twins an early 2-0 lead. Mauer dominated the Indians throughout the entire series.
The Indians scratched runs however necessary. With the bases loaded in the fourth, Matt LaPorta hit a ball to deep center field that was miss played, scoring Ezequiel Carrera and Asdrubal Cabrera. Orlando Cabrera followed with a ground out to score Travis Hafner and the Indians had a 3-2 lead. However, the Twins would answer back in the bottom half of the inning. Jim Thome doubled home Michael Cuddyer to tie the game and Delmon Young followed with a base hit to score Thome and give the Twins a 4-3 lead.
Continuing to battle for runs, Hafner doubled in the sixth inning and moved to third on a ground ball by Carlos Santana. Hafner, who has never been mistaken for speedy, scored on a passed ball. Hafner narrowly slid under Nick Blackburn’s tag.
The Indians inability to get the big hit when needed ,continued. The Indians could not score OCab from third, with only one out in the seventh inning, or ACab who led off the eighth with a double to take the lead. The team was 0-9 with runners in scoring position.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Baseball Gods found Luis Valbuena again, just like Tuesday evening. Casilla hit a ball to left center field that could have been caught, but instead landed between Valbuena and Carrera and bounced over the fence for a ground rule double. Joe Mauer followed with another base hit to left. This time Valbuena played a catchable ball in front of him. After Jim Thome walked, the bases were loaded.
Tony Sipp was relieved by Vinnie Pestano, who proceeded to give up a line drive base hit off O Cab’s glove for a base hit, giving the Twins the lead, 5-4. After striking out Young, Tsuyoshi Nishioka singled to left scoring two more runs and giving Minnesota all they would need with a 7-4 lead. The inning was started with two balls that should have been caught in left field.
Joe Nathan gave up a solo home run to Lonnie Chisenhall but completed the ninth and the Indians were forced to split another four game series after winning the first two games. The team’s inability to hit with runners in scoring position and outfield play cost the Indians the chance at a sweep in Minnesota. Thursday the team receives a much needed off day where hopefully Michael Brantley can overcome his stomach virus and Travis Buck’s headache subsides by Friday evening’s game at home with the Chicago White Sox.