Twins Destroy Tribe Again as Indians See Central Lead Disintegrate to Two; Twins 13, Indians 5
Bob Toth | On 03, Aug 2016
If you’ve paid any attention this week to what has transpired at Progressive Field as the Indians hosted the Twins, Wednesday night was no less ugly than the first two games. Minnesota racked up double digit totals in runs and hits again and dismantled and demoralized Cleveland for a third straight night, 13-5.
It was the ultimate in déjà vu moments for the Tribe and their fans, who watched another starter (Trevor Bauer) fail to pitch even remotely deep into the ball game while putting the contest all but out of reach in the first few innings. While the Indians offense was once again able to contribute a solid five runs, the third time this series that they have scored at least that many, it was much too little and too late to overcome the canyon-sized deficit they stared down.
For the seventh time in the last eight games, the road team scored first at Progressive Field as the Indians fell behind 2-0 in the first. Joe Mauer continued to exert his will against Indians pitching, doubling to left center before Max Kepler and Miguel Sano both drew walks off of Bauer to load the bases. Eddie Rosario plated a pair with a single up the middle.
After the lengthy first inning, the lineup turned over again in the second. Number nine hitter Danny Santana led the inning off with a single to left. Brian Dozier flied out, but Mauer singled home Santana (who had moved to third on an error at first on a pickoff attempt) to make it 3-0.
The Indians got to Tyler Duffey and made the game close, for a moment, in the bottom of the second. Jose Ramirez and Lonnie Chisenhall singled, putting runners on the corners with one out. Duffey uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Ramirez to score and Chisenhall to move into scoring position. After Tyler Naquin struck out looking, Abraham Almonte singled to center but was erased trying to advance to second on the play to end the inning. Chisenhall’s run counted and Cleveland cut the deficit to 3-2.
The Twins got yet another gigantic inning in response, ending Bauer’s night and, in effect, the game as a whole as they sent nine men to the plate. Rosario singled and scored on a double by Eduardo Escobar. Jorge Polanco sacrificed him to third. Juan Centeno walked. Santana grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Escobar tagged trying to score. Dozier walked to load the bases. Mauer unloaded a pair on a double to left center to make it 6-2.
The game may have hinged on the next batter, as Indians killer Kepler lifted a fly ball to right. Chisenhall, charging in, made a diving catch. First base umpire Jim Reynolds felt differently, ruling it a trapped ball and a two-run single for Kepler. Terry Francona challenged the ruling, but despite the in-stadium replays appearing to show the ball bouncing off of the fingers of Chisenhall’s glove deeper into the mitt for a catch, the replay review center felt otherwise, pushing the Twins’ lead to 8-2.
It ended the nights of manager Francona (ejected for arguing a replay by home plate umpire Manny Gonzalez), pitching coach Mickey Callaway (ejected for the same), and Bauer (yanked).
Naquin made it a four-run game in the fifth, taking Duffey deep with Chisenhall on at second after his leadoff double, but it would be as close as the Indians would get. Zach McAllister took the mound in the sixth and gave up a walk and single to start the inning before a lucky bullet to Ramirez at third turned into a double play. Nearly out of the inning, he gave up an RBI-double to Rosario to give a run right back to the Twins.
Mike Napoli pulled the game back within four with a homer to the bleachers in left-center in the sixth off of Duffey, but back-to-back eighth inning triples by Dozier and Mauer made it 10-5 and a three-run blast from Dozier in the ninth extended the lead to the game’s final 13-5 tally.
The Twins (43-64) have played well since the beginning of July and the Indians (60-45) can speak on behalf of that statement. Minnesota has scored 35 runs in three games in the series, include 22 against starters Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar. It marked just the second time since 1967 that the Twins franchise has scored ten or more runs in three straight games. They have done the bulk of the damage behind an unbelievable 26 extra base hits (out of 48 hits total) in the series and are 15-for-40 with runners in scoring position.
“You have to play through tough times,” said Francona after the game. “It’s inevitable. It happens to everybody.”
BAUER DIDN’T HAVE IT
Bauer (7-5, 4.08 ERA) didn’t seem to have it from the jump. Curveball command was missing in the first and he threw just 45 of 80 pitches on the night for strikes. Instead of ending a string of bad starts by the Indians starters, he added to it with a two and two-thirds inning effort, allowing eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits with five walks and just one strikeout. While he kept the ball in the yard, something his two predecessors could not do, he allowed three doubles as the Twins pounded the extra base machine for big runs throughout the night.
DUFFEY WASN’T GREAT, BUT RECEIVED THE WIN
Duffey (6-8, 6.21) got the win, but it was hardly because of a solid outing on his part. He allowed five runs over six innings, giving up eight hits while striking out six. He was first pitch strike to 18 of the 24 batters that he faced.
KEPLER DID A THING AGAIN
The rookie Kepler can credit any possible end-of-the-year awards to the Cleveland Indians pitching staff. He extended his utter dominance of the Tribe this week by going a modest 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.
He is now 7-for-12 in the series with four two-run homers and ten RBI and has drawn four walks.
Dozier had a pair of hits in five at bats to extend his hitting streak to 12 straight games, but waited until the eighth inning to do it. He tripled that inning and homered the following and has now hit in 16 of 19 games in the second half.
Mauer may not have had great numbers this season against the Indians coming into the series, but he has fixed that numerical glitch with a ridiculous set of video game numbers through the first three games at Progressive Field. He was 4-for-5 on Wednesday, his second four-hit game of the series, with two doubles and a triple while falling just a homer short of the cycle.
He is 10-for-15 (.667) at the plate with eight runs scored and six RBI, four of which came in the 13-5 contest Wednesday.
NAPOLI MAKES IT FIVE STRAIGHT WITH A HOMER
Napoli lifted off in the sixth for his 27th home run of the season. The blast to the bleachers was his fifth straight game with a home run, matching a career-best. He is the first Indians hitter to homer in five straight since Travis Hafner accomplished the feat in 2005.
“We’re going to snap out of it,” said Napoli about the Indians’ 2-3 record during his current homer streak. “Through 162 games, you’re going to have stretches like this. It’s about minimizing them.”
HITTING STREAK REACHES EIGHT STRAIGHT FOR RAMIREZ
His second inning single to start the Indians’ scoring pushed Ramirez’s hitting streak to eight straight.
HIT THE SHOWERS
Francona, Callaway, and Corey Kluber were all tossed from the ball game after the unpleasant display of enforcing the strike zone and on-the-field rules from the umpires on Wednesday night. Francona and Callaway both were tossed by home plate umpire Gonzalez after the “trapped” catch in right field by Chisenhall was not overturned. Kluber was tossed in the fifth by first base umpire Reynolds after Almonte was involved in a bang-bang play at first trying to advance on a third strike wild pitch.
“I knew I was going to get thrown out because you can’t go out and argue those,” shared Francona. “I just needed to express my frustration.”
DO THE BULLPEN SHUFFLE
Prior to the game, the Indians announced that right-handed reliever Austin Adams had been optioned back to Triple-A Columbus and that the team had recalled another right-handed reliever, Shawn Armstrong, to replace him on the roster.
Following the game, Armstrong and Cody Anderson were optioned back to Columbus. One of the two departs to make room on the roster for Mike Clevinger. An unannounced move also occurred to fill the other roster vacancy.
SALVAGE THE SERIES AND THE HOMESTAND
After dropping three straight to the Twins, the Indians’ 4-1 start to their nine-game homestand has turned into a disappointing 4-4 record with one more to play.
The rookie Clevinger (0-1, 7.71) will be tasked with stopping the hemorrhaging, while left-hander Hector Santiago (10-4, 4.25) will make his first start as a member of the Twins.
The afternoon finale is scheduled for a 12:10 PM ET start.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images