Gomez and Late Inning Rally Pushes Tribe Past Twinkies; Indians 5, Twins 4
By Mike Brandyberry
Minnesota took the early lead in the bottom of the third inning when Darin Mastroianni led the inning off with a single to center field. After Drew Butera grounded out to first, advancing Mastroianni, Jamey Carroll walked. Then, Carlos Santana committed a passed ball. Mastroianni advanced to third base, but Santana’s throw in to left field allowed him to advance home for an early 1-0 Twins lead.
The Indians would answer right back in the top of the fourth inning, however. Jason Kipnis led off the inning with a base hit, followed by a ground rule double by Asdrubal Cabrera to put runners on second and third. Travis Hafner and Carlos Santana were able to do the little things to drive home the runs. Hafner grounded out to second base to drive score a run and Santana hit a sacrifice fly to left field to plate the second run.
With a 2-1 lead, the Tribe added to the score the very next inning when newly recalled Jose Lopez doubled and Casey Kotchman hit a two-run home run to right field for a 4-1 lead. Lopez was recalled on Saturday and playing for the injured Jack Hannahan who had a stiff back. It was Kotchman’s third home run of the season.
The Tribe donned a new lineup for the game, most notably with Shin-Soo Choo hitting leadoff. Michael Brantley moved up to the sixth spot and Shelley Duncan dropped down to ninth. It was the second straight day the struggling Johnny Damon did not start.
The four runs was all the offense the Tribe would need to muster off Minnesota starter, Carl Pavano. Meanwhile, Indians’ starter Jeanmar Gomez dominated the Twins all evening. Gomez stepped up and gave a veteran effort, pitching seven innings, allowing only the unearned run on three hits and 97 pitches.
Vinnie Pestano entered for the eighth inning and immediately walked Denard Span to start the inning. After retiring Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer struck out but Span stole second on the play. With two out Josh Willingham doubled down the left field line to score Span and cut the lead to 4-2. Pestano’s night would be done and Nick Hagadone would enter the game to face Ryan Doumit, who would crush a two-run home run to left field, tying the game at four.
After Hagadone walked Trevor Plouffe, Joe Smith relieved him to retire the final out of the inning. The damage was done, and possibly Hagadone’s back end spot in the bullpen. With Tony Sipp’s struggles, a spot on the left side is open.
The Indians would not die however, and answered back immediately. With an out, Kotchman singled and later advanced on a wild pitch. With two outs, and pinch runner Lou Marson in, Choo laced a base hit to center field to score the go ahead run.
Chris Perez would enter and work a three-up, three-down bottom of the ninth for his 12th save of the season. The victory would snap the Tribe’s three game losing streak. While Gomez did not earn the victory, his effort through seven innings was good enough to win.
The Tribe will try to sweep the short two game series Tuesday afternoon when Derek Lowe (5-1, 2.47 ERA) matches up with Jason Marquis (2-2, 6.26). Game time slated for 1:05 ET and can be seen on SportsTime Ohio.
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