Tribe Outslug Twins 7-6, Open Homestand with a Victory
Eddie Kerekes | On 14, May 2016
Progressive Field turned into a bandbox as the Tribe and the Twins combined to hit six home runs, but it was a two-run double from Marlon Byrd over the head of center fielder Danny Santana that won the game for the Tribe in the bottom of the eighth.
It started out rough for Cleveland as Josh Tomlin finally succumbed to his home run allowing tendencies, giving up three in the first three innings. In the first, it was Miguel Sano who hit a towering 464 foot solo shot halfway up the left field bleachers. Byung-ho Park struck next, leading off the second with a solo homer of his own to left-center. Then in the third, Park hit another, this time a two-run shot following a Juan Uribe error, for the first multi-homer game of his career.
In the second, the Twins missed a scoring chance following the Park homer as two walks loaded the bases with two outs. Tomlin worked out of it, getting Eduardo Nunez to line out to right.
The Tribe responded in the bottom half, though, when Yan Gomes hit a two-run blast off of Twins starter Ricky Nolasco, tying the game at two. Following the Twins’ two-run third, Jason Kipnis cut the lead to one in the bottom half with a two-out solo homer of his own to center.
Tomlin settled down after the third, retiring every Twin he faced from there, a stretch of 12 in a row. He was replaced by Kyle Crockett the seventh as his pitch count was already over 100, finishing with four strikeouts and two walks in six and a third innings.
A Byrd sacrifice fly tied the game at four in the sixth, scoring Francisco Lindor. A Lindor single, followed by walks of Mike Napoli and Jose Ramirez loaded the bases for Byrd with one out. His deep fly ball just kept carrying and Sano barely caught up to it on the warning track, a foreshadowing of Byrd’s go-ahead double later in the game.
Terry Francona trusted Bryan Shaw to keep the game tied in the eighth, but Nunez had other plans. He deposited Shaw’s third pitch in the bleachers in left to give the Twins a 5-4 lead. Shaw then gave up a single to Sano and walked Trevor Plouffe to put two on with no outs. After a soft Park groundout effectively worked as a bunt, Shaw intentionally walked Brian Dozier, loading the bases with one out.
Zach McAllister got the call to work out of danger, and he delivered, striking out the only two batters he faced to limit the Twins damage to one run in the inning.
In the bottom half, the Tribe fought their way back to regain the lead. Lindor led off with a single and stole second. After a Napoli strikeout, Ramirez walked, setting the stage for Byrd. He clobbered a 1-2 curveball to deep center off of reliever Trevor May, scoring both base runners to give the Tribe the 6-5 lead. “He [May] didn’t execute and I put a good swing on it,” said Byrd post-game.
Uribe increased the lead to two with a two-out single to score pinch-runner Tyler Naquin and give the Tribe a much needed insurance run.
Cody Allen came in and promptly surrendered a double to Santana, who advanced to third on a throwing error from Naquin. Santana scored on a Nunez single, and the go-ahead run got all the way to third before Allen struck out Park to end the game and earn the save. Allen is still perfect in save opportunities this year, 9-for-9, despite having a lackluster 5.17 ERA.
Well Deserved Win
McAllister got his second win in relief, improving to 2-1 on the year and lowering his ERA to 2.08, second lowest among Tribe relievers. “He really gave us a chance, to where the [later] runs would end up being meaningful,” Francona said about the performance.
That’s How You Break Out of a Slump
Gomes snapped a 0-for-20 skid with the homer, his fourth of the year. Francona said, “It’s just nice to see him have something to show for [his hard work].”
Still a Stopper
Tomlin’s perfect record after an Indians loss stayed at 12-0, as he did not factor into the decision. He gave up four runs (three earned) while only walking two and striking out four in his six and a third innings.
Home Run Derby
The last time a crowd at Progressive Field saw six home runs in a single day was September 30 of last year. The visiting team was, of course, the Minnesota Twins.
On the Mend
Michael Brantley sat out his third consecutive game with shoulder fatigue. Team doctors evaluated his surgically repaired shoulder before the game with results expected on Saturday. Carlos Carrasco, out with a hamstring injury, threw off a mound on Friday and is expected to throw a bullpen session on Monday.
Naquin was called up from AAA Columbus on Friday after Lonnie Chisenhall was placed on the bereavement list. The right fielder experienced a death in the family and is planning to return to Cleveland Sunday afternoon, though Francona said the team will give him as much time as he needs.
Corey Kluber (2-4 4.14 ERA) will face Ervin Santana (0-2 3.86 ERA) for game two of the weekend series. The Tribe will try to improve to three games over .500 for the first time since 2014 and the Twins are hoping to snap an eight-game losing streak. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 pm.
Photo: Tony Dejak/AP Photo