Heart of Cleveland’s Order Makes Carrasco’s Quality Start a Win; Indians 5, Twins 2
Bob Toth | On 15, Jul 2016
The Cleveland Indians bounced back from a poor showing in their final series before the break with good pitching and timely hitting from the heart of their order in beating the Minnesota Twins by a 5-2 final in the first game of the second half on Friday night.
Carlos Carrasco kept a Twins team that has played better baseball in July in check by pitching into the seventh inning and he received good support from the offense, as Jose Ramirez and Mike Napoli each supplied the offense with enough runs to claim a victory against a Minnesota club that had proved to be a thorn in the Indians’ side so far this season.
Despite the final score, the Indians trailed early as the Twins struck for a run in the bottom of the first against Carrasco, who gave up five runs (but just one earned) against the New York Yankees in Cleveland’s final game of the first half.
Joe Mauer singled with one out and moved to second when Miguel Sano singled to center. A wild pitch from Carrasco allowed both runners to move up 90 feet, giving Brian Dozier an RBI on a sacrifice fly to center to make it a 1-0 lead for the Twins, who entered the game 4-2 against the Tribe this season.
After a missed opportunity with runners at the corners and two down in the third, the Indians struck through against the Twins’ Ervin Santana in the fourth to take a temporary lead. Francisco Lindor walked and moved to third on an error by Sano that enabled Napoli to go to second on the play. Ramirez singled to left to score Lindor and Lonnie Chisenhall grounded into a slow moving double play attempt, scoring Napoli and forcing Ramirez at second, but allowing the Cleveland batter to reach safely at first to give the Indians a 2-1 lead.
Dozier tied the game in the bottom half with a homer to left to even the score at two.
It was the three through five hitters that started the rally again for the Indians in the sixth to give Cleveland the lead. Lindor singled to center with one out and advanced to second on a single by Napoli. Ramirez singled off of the arm of Santana to drive in Lindor with the go-ahead run while knocking Santana out of the ball game. Reliever Trevor May could not slow the Indians, who got a walk from Chisenhall on a long at bat to load the bases before all runners moved up on a wild pitch from May to give the Indians a 4-2 lead.
Carrasco retired six straight before a two-out double in the bottom of the seventh by former Indian Robbie Grossman spelled the end of his night. With the tying run at the plate in Kurt Suzuki, reliever Jeff Manship got the Twins catcher to ground out to third to end the inning.
Napoli took Ryan Pressly deep to left-center in the eighth to give the Indians bullpen a valuable insurance run. Bryan Shaw struck out a pair in a perfect eighth and Cody Allen did the same in the ninth for his 19th save of the season.
Cleveland (53-36) started its second half out on the right foot with the rare win against the Twins this season. The Indians have excelled against the rest of the AL Central this season and pulled within a win of evening up the season series with the Twins at four all. Their win, coupled with a third straight loss by the Texas Rangers, gave the Indians the best record in the AL at day’s end.
Minnesota (32-57) dropped to 19-28 at home this season and 7-4 in July. They remain the worst team in the AL, two games worse than the Tampa Bay Rays (34-55).
QUALITY EFFORT FROM CARRASCO
Carrasco (6-3, 2.49 ERA) gave the Indians the outing that they needed from their starting rotation, which seemed to trip up some as the team entered the All-Star break. The Tribe’s number two starter lasted six and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts on the night. He made 101 pitches, 64 of which were strikes.
SANTANA DEALT ANOTHER LOSS
Minnesota’s starter Santana (3-8, 4.12) added to a long list of losses against the Indians in his career. He retired one batter in the sixth, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts on the night.
C’LOS EXTENDS STREAK TO A DOZEN
The Indians’ Santana extended his hitting streak to twelve straight with a single high and hard off of the wall in right field in the third inning. He has now hit safely in every game in the month of July.
NUNEZ’S STRUGGLES AGAINST CLEVELAND CONTINUE
Twins All-Star Eduardo Nunez and his problems with Cleveland pitching continued on Friday as he went 0-for-4 at the plate with a strikeout. He is now hitting .130 (3-for-23) on the season against the Tribe.
RAMIREZ WITH RUNNERS IN SCORING POSITION
Ramirez added two more hits with runners in scoring position on Friday night to improve upon his solid numbers on the season in those key spots. He has now driven in six runs over the last three games for the Indians and improved his average to .313 in July and .298 for the season.
“He sprays the ball all over the field,” shared Indians manager Terry Francona after the game. “That’s why we’re hitting him where we’re hitting him, because regardless of who’s pitching or what type, he puts the ball in play.”
He is now 28-for-71 (.394) with 35 RBI with runners in scoring position this year.
NAPOLI’S BIG BLAST
In the two-run game in the top of the eighth, Napoli’s shot off of Pressly went into the Indians bullpen in center field for his 19th home run of the season. He pulled within one homer of his first base/DH mate in Santana for the team lead.
He had three hits in total in the game, adding a pair of singles and three runs scored to his stat sheet on the game.
“Everybody looked fresh,” he said after the game about the benefit of the All-Star break for the club. “It’s going to be a grind down the stretch, but for us to be able to get some rest, it’s nice.”
The Twins and Tribe will take the field in the middle game of their three-game set on Saturday night at 7:10 PM ET.
Cleveland will send Trevor Bauer (7-3, 3.30) to the mound, hoping to claim the series from Minnesota for the first time this season. The Twins will send Tyler Duffey (2-5, 5.20) to the mound. Bauer has just one win in his career against Minnesota, while the Twins righty Duffey has a pair of wins and a 0.93 ERA against Cleveland.
Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images