Diamond Helps Twins Beat Tribe, Win Series; Twins 6, Indians 3
By Ryan Hohman
Minnesota Twins starter Scott Diamond pitched 7 innings without giving up an earned run or walk to lift the Twins over the Cleveland Indians 6-3 on Sunday afternoon in a game where calls and bounces both seemed to go Minnesota’s way.
The Twins had base runners early and often against Tribe starter Justin Masterson. Denard Span walked and stole second to start the game. Joe Mauer wasted no time bringing Span around to score with a single to right field. Shin-Soo Choo fielded Mauer’s ball quickly but his relay throw missed the cut-off man allowing Mauer to turn for second base. Lou Marson gathered Choo’s throw and fired a strike to second, but Asdrubal Cabrera missed the tag on Mauer. This was the first of many bang-bang plays that would go the Twins way over the course of the afternoon.
The next would come when Shin-Shoo Choo led off the bottom of the first inning with a rip down the third base line that looked like a sure double until the ball took a Twins bounce off the side wall into the bare hand of Josh Willingham, who made a perfect throw to second to nail Choo.
The Twins threatened again in the second inning but thanks to the defense of Michael Brantley, the Indians were able to keep it a one-run ball game. Catcher Ryan Doumit led off the inning with a drive to deep center field over the head of a sprinting Brantley who threw up his glove across his body at the last second to make a miraculous catch and save at least a double if not more.
After retiring the first two batters in the top half of the third inning, Masterson walked Mauer then gave up a double to deep left to Josh Willingham. Mauer advanced to third and all of a sudden the Twins had runners on second and third with two outs. Justin Morneau followed with an infield single to third to score Mauer and give the Twins a 2-0 cushion.
Twins rookie shortstop Brian Dozier led off the fourth with a bunt single to third. Dozier advanced to second on a wild pitch before Trevor Plouffe laid down a perfect bunt for a single, advancing Dozier to third. Alexi Casilla followed with a sac fly to center to score Dozier and give the Twins a 3-0 lead.
The Indians would get a pair back in the fourth. The inning started with Jason Kipnis reaching first base on a throwing error by Brandon Dozier. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a sharply hit single to center, moving Kipnis to third. A Jose Lopez sac fly scored Kipnis and cut the Twins lead to 3-1. Cabrera advanced to second on a Michael Brantley groundout before Shelley Duncan brought him home with a two-out single up the middle to make it a one-run game.
Michael Brantley extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a two-out single in the bottom of the sixth.
Lefty Nick Hagadone came on to relieve Masterson in the seventh. Masterson pitched 6 innings and gave up 3 earned runs on 7 hits, 3 strikeouts, and 3 walks.
Twins right fielder Ben Revere welcomed Hagadone to the game by laying down a perfect bunt to first for a single. Hagadone regrouped and struck out the next batter, Mauer, but it would only go downhill from there. Revere stole second and Willingham smacked his second double of the game to score Revere and extend the Twins lead to 4-2. Hagadone got Morneau to strike out but the Twins would tack on another insurance run when Ryan Doumit singled home Willingham and ended Hagadone’s day. Jeremy Accardo relieved Hagadone and got Dozier to strike out to end the inning.
Trailing 5-2, the Indians would fight back in the seventh. Matt LaPorta, appearing in his first game since being called up from Triple-A Columbus, reached first base on a throwing error by the Twins third baseman Plouffe. Lou Marson extended his hitting streak to six games with a one-out double to the left field gap to bring home LaPorta and cut the Twins lead to two.
Accardo returned to the mound in the eighth and gave up a leadoff double to deep center to Plouffe, who advanced to third base on a throwing error by Brantley. Casilla hit a sac fly to center to score Plouffe and extend the Twins lead to 6-3.
Glen Perkins relieved Twins starter Scott Diamond in the bottom of the eighth inning. Diamond was excellent on the mound, going 7 innings and allowing no earned runs on 7 hits. He struck out two and walked none while only throwing 93 pitches.
Chris Perez pitched a scoreless ninth for the Indians. Masterson got the loss and fell to 2-5 on the year. Diamond improved to 4-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.86 for the season.