Six Run Sixth Pushes Tribe By Twinkies; Indians 8, Twins 2
By Mike Brandyberry
After five tightly contested innings, the Indians took advantage of a tired Minnesota bullpen and blew open the game in the sixth inning, taking the first game of a doubleheader, 8-2.
The Tribe got the offense rolling early when Jason Kipnis and Travis Hafner each singled to put runners on the corners against Brian Duensing. Shelley Duncan followed with a double to deep center, scoring both and giving the Indians an early 2-0 lead.
David Huff rebounded nicely from his last two starts where the opponent’s offense had jumped on him early and often. Huff allowed a base hit in each inning he pitched but battled out of jams all afternoon. Huff allowed a run in the fourth inning when he threw a wild pitch, allowing Danny Valencia to score.
In the sixth Valencia singled with one out, then an out later, Trevor Plouffe doubled him home. That chased Huff from the game and left Zach Putnam to record the last out of the inning, leaving the game tied at two. Huff pitched five and two-third innings, allowing eight hits, two runs, seven strikeouts and no walks.
Francisco Liriano relieved Duensing in the bottom of the sixth, but brought no relief to Minnesota. Liriano immediately struggled with control, walking Kipnis, Carlos Santana and hitting Hafner to load the bases. Liriano, who has struggled with control all season, was left in the game to try and fix his own jam.
Duncan proceeded to score Kipnis on a sacrifice fly to left field, Matt LaPorta doubled home Santana and Jack Hannahan blooped a single in to score Hafner, making the score 5-2 and chasing Liriano from the game. Jim Hoey replaced Liriano but allowed a base hit to Kosuke Fukudome to drive in another run. Kipnis completed the six run inning when he singled up the middle to drive in two more and give the Indians a commanding 8-2 lead.
Liriano worked only a third of an inning, but allowed five runs on two hits, two walks and a hit by pitch.
Putnam worked the seventh, striking out two with runners on first and second. Putnam earned his first major league victory. Frank Herrmann worked both the eighth and ninth inning to complete the game and give the Tribe the victory. Herrmann has worked often of late, proving he has a role in next season’s bullpen.
The victory puts the Indians at 79-78, one game over .500, headed into the nightcap of the day, night doubleheader. Mitch Talbot will try to prove he has improved his mechanics and command in the second half of the season while at AAA. He’ll be opposed by Scott Diamond at 7:05 ET.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images