Tribe Offense Chilled Again; Twins 1, Indians 0
Mike B. | On 05, May 2014
Sometimes you can’t have nice things.
The Indians had another nice start, but couldn’t get any offense to support it and for the second straight day John Axford was saddled with the loss in relief. Zach McAllister and Kyle Gibson matched up in a classic pitcher’s duel, taking advantage of a cool night and breeze blowing in to hold both teams scoreless through nine innings. However, Minnesota’s Eduardo Escobar was able to lace a home run through the chill in the 10th inning and give the Twins a 1-0 victory in the opening of a four game series at Progressive Field.
McAllister and Gibson both were strong starters in the cool, spring breeze. McAllister picked up where Corey Kluber’s strikeouts on Sunday, left off. The Tribe’s right-hander set down nine of the first ten hitters he faced and struck out four. Likewise, Gibson matched his mound opponent, allowing just one hit his first time through the batting order.
Cleveland did have a chance to score in the first inning when Michael Brantley doubled to left field and Carlos Santana walked with two outs. However, Lonnie Chisenhall could not come through with the base hit and popped out on the infield.
Minnesota had a chance of their own in the fourth inning when Trevor Plouffe reached on an infield single with one out. Jason Kubel followed with a base hit to center field to put runners on the corners, but Kurt Suzuki could not get the big two-out base hit for the Twins, instead flying out to right field. McAllister bounced back with a three-up, three-down inning in the fifth.
The Twins made another threat to score in the top of the sixth inning, but again McAllister rose to the occasion at the toughest moment. Sam Fuld hit a one-out double and stole third base. With the infield drawn in, McAllister struck out Plouffe and Chris Colabello to end the inning and strand the runner 90 feet from home plate.
McAllister’s night ended before the Indians could get him any offense, unfortunately. After retiring the first two hitters in the seventh inning, Josmil Pinto doubled to left field and Chris Herrmann walked to put two on and two out. McAllister’s first walk of the night ended his evening after 114 pitches. Bryan Shaw came on and got Pedro Florimon to ground out and end the inning. McAllister earned a tough luck no-decision, much the similar fate of Kluber on Sunday, tossing six and two-third innings, allowing just five hits and a walk while striking out eight and not allowing a run.
Gibson matched McAllister, if not out-pitched him, yet received the same no-decision. The Twins’ righty stymied the Tribe for seven complete innings, allowing just two hits and three walks, while striking out one and not allowing a run. Brian Duensing kept tallying zeros for Minnesota when he pitched a scoreless eighth inning of relief.
Cody Allen relieved Shaw in the ninth inning, tossing another zero on the scoreboard while striking out two. Caleb Thielbar (2-0) did the same for the Twins and Cleveland became the last team in Major League Baseball to play an extra inning game this season.
But it didn’t take long to snap the scoreless streak. Axford (0-3), pitching in his third straight game, allowed a solo home run to Escobar on just his second pitch. Escobar’s first home run of the season gave the Twins a 1-0 lead and it was all they would need to win the cold, breezy game.
Glen Perkins worked a scoreless 10th inning for Minnesota to earn his eighth save of the season and the Tribe was sent home a late inning loser for the second straight day. Cleveland was held to just three hits in 10 innings. Mike Aviles had two of the Indians’ three hits with Brantley’s double in the first inning the only other knock for the Tribe. The Indians have not scored in 15 innings.
Tuesday night the Indians will try to snap their short, two game losing streak when Josh Tomlin makes his season debut. Tomlin will be added to the roster prior to Tuesday’s game. Minnesota will counter with right-hander Samuel Deduno (0-1, 2.89).
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images