Tribe Loses Third of Four Game Series, Falls to Last Place Tie; Twins 7, Indians 2
By Dave Roberts
After last night’s surprising walk-off win in favor of the Twins the Indians looked to earn a split in the Twin Cities on Monday night to keep their record in September at .500. The Tribe sent Justin Masterson to the mound against Samuel Deduno in hopes he stays with his recent hot streak and help them leave town still in sole possession of 4th place.
Unfortunately the bats were hung over from last night’s slug fest and Masterson just wasn’t himself as the Tribe dropped this one 7-2.
Masterson and Deduno locked heads in a classic pitcher’s duel early as they both traded zeros through the first three innings, with the only baserunners coming from two walks for the Indians and a hit batsman for the Twins. The no-hitter ended for Masterson in the bottom of the fourth as a leadoff infield single by Alexi Casilla set the stage for a Joe Mauer single and then a Justin Morneau sac-fly put the Twins on top 1-0.
The game stayed silent again until the top of the sixth when Choo walked and then a Michael Brantley single to break up the no-hitter put runners at first and third with one out for Carlos Santana, who drove in a run with a sac-fly to center to tie the game at 1.
Unfortunately, the game did not stay tied for long as the Twins got right back up on the horse with a leadoff triple by Pedro Florimon to left field that set it up for Ben Revere to single him home and put the Twins ahead 2-1. After two consecutive groundouts moved the runner to third, Justin Morneau laced a single to left plating another run, his 19th run batted in against the Indians this season, pushing the Twins’ lead to 3-1. Masterson then walked Willingham putting runners at second and third but managed to get Doumit to ground out for the third out.
The Tribe retaliated again in the top of the seventh, with one out Lonnie Chisenhall, in his first game back since late June, lined a laser for a solo home run putting the Indians down by one. After a Cord Phelps strikeout, Brent Lillibridge singled for just the third hit of the game for the Tribe but was forced out at second on a Marson groundball.
It was a familiar story in the bottom of the seventh as the Twins continue to find ways to score again just after the Tribe inches closer. With one out Matt Carson singled on a soft liner to Masterson, then Florimon followed up with a double to center plating Carson to increase their lead 4-2. Ben Revere followed up with a ground out for the second out, which advanced the runner to third, which then promptly scored on a Masterson wild pitch giving the Twins a 5-2 lead.
Masterson faced his last batter and walked Alexi Casilla before being pulled for Scott Maine with a runner at first and two out. With Mauer at the plate, Casilla stole second and then scored on Mauer’s single putting the Twins in control 6-3. Maine then got Morneau to fly out to left to end the inning.
The Twins just for extra measure added a run on a solo blast by Ryan Doumit off Frank Herrmann with one out in the eighth to make it 7-3. Trevor Plouffe then followed that up with a ground rule double to right. Luckily, Herrmann was able to get the next two batters to ground out and strand the runner at second.
Meanwhile the Indians offense failed to put up anything else in the final two innings against the Twins pen and dropped their third straight and the series to the Twins.
Justin Masterson goes six and two thirds innings tonight allowing six runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking two. The righty drops to 11-13 on the season and the Indians as a team drop to 59-82 and are now tied with Minnesota Twins for last place in the A.L. Central.
The Indians hit the road after tonight and take flight for the Ballpark in Arlington where they will take on the Texas Rangers for a three game series. Tomorrow’s matchup features Ubaldo Jimenez (9-15, 5.58) against Matt Harrison (15-9, 3.37) with game time scheduled for 8:05.
Photo: AP Photo/Genevieve Ross