Big Second Inning Gives Twins a Win Over Bauer and Tribe; Twins 5, Indians 0
Bob Toth | On 23, Jun 2017
It was a night of few opportunities for the Indians, who were facing the second-year left-hander Mejia for the second time in a week. The chances that Cleveland had were squandered away as the bats could do little against Minnesota pitching.
The Twins quickly got to work in the second as Max Kepler doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a fly out by Eduardo Escobar. An infield single by Eddie Rosario pushed across Kepler with the first run of the night and the Twins had a 1-0 lead. The next hitter, Jorge Polanco, got the better of Bauer in a seven-pitch battle, sending a two-run homer to right to make it a three-run lead. Jason Castro worked a walk before Byron Buxton lined out, but Brian Dozier doubled to center to score Castro from first to give the Twins a four-run edge.
It would be more than enough for Mejia and the Twins, who would limit the Indians to just four hits on the night. Cleveland would have several chances to score but would falter, beginning with a missed opportunity in the bottom of the second.
Austin Jackson walked to start the inning and Roberto Perez did the same one out later. Daniel Robertson grounded into a force at second, leaving runners on the corners and two outs for Jason Kipnis. The Tribe second baseman worked a walk in a lengthy at bat against Mejia to load the bases, but Erik Gonzalez struck out swinging to strand all three men.
After wasting Carlos Santana’s two-out walk in the third, the Indians would send six to the plate in the fourth and come away empty handed. Lonnie Chisenhall started the inning with a single to short before Perez popped out. Robertson singled to center and Kipnis reached safely on an error by Mejia to load the bases. With a chance to deliver once again with the bases loaded, Gonzalez again struck out swinging before a first pitch liner by Lindor to waste a golden opportunity to touch up the scoreboard.
Bauer retired eight straight after Dozier’s double, but the Twins second baseman notched another hit with a one-out single in the fifth, Joe Mauer would do the same, but Bauer worked out of it with a double play ball from Kennys Vargas to get out of a big jam and keep it a four-run game.
Minnesota added an insurance run in the seventh with two outs. Buxton reached safely on a bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error by Bauer. Dozier drove him in with a single to right, knocking Bauer out of the ballgame with a five-run deficit.
The Twins retired eleven in a row before Encarnacion singled off of reliever Taylor Rogers in the bottom of the eighth. He would be forced at second on a grounder by Santana and the next two were retired to leave another runner on base. The Indians would do the same in the bottom of the ninth against Trevor Hildenberger, who was on to make his Major League debut. After striking out Perez for his first big league out, he gave up a double down the left field line to Bradley Zimmer. He would move to third on a groundout by Kipnis but would advance no further as Jose Ramirez grounded out pinch-hitting to end the ball game.
The Twins (37-34) cut the Indians’ (39-33) in the AL Central down to a game and a half with the win. The Indians fell to 15-18 at Progressive Field this season, while the Twins are an impressive 21-9 on the road this season.
BAUER BACK TO .500
Bauer (6-6) dropped back to the .500 mark with the loss on Friday night and was dealt his first defeat in four chances against the Twins this season. After the rough go in the beginning of the night, he was able to give the Indians six and two-thirds innings on the night, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits with a walk and four strikeouts. He threw 111 pitches, but did not have the same swing and miss stuff as he has had in other outings against the Twins this season.
MEJIA EARNS FIRST WIN AGAINST TRIBE
Making his second straight start against the Indians, the 24-year-old left-hander Mejia earned his first win against Cleveland and improved to 2-3 on the season while lowering his ERA to 4.93. He was effectively wild on the night, allowing just two hits but walking five while striking out four. He needed 104 pitches to clear five innings and threw first pitch strikes to just half of the 24 men that he faced.
RAMIREZ’S STREAK ENDS
The impressive hitting streak of Ramirez came to an end in tough fashion as he grounded out in a ninth inning pinch-hitting appearance after getting the night off from manager Terry Francona. He had hit safely in ten straight games before the guest appearance.
NOT VERY RISP-Y
The Indians left eleven men on base as a team on the night and were a combined 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Gonzalez left six men stranded himself with a pair of bases loaded strikeouts.
The Indians and Twins will pick up where they left off in a 4:10 PM ET start from Progressive Field on Saturday afternoon.
Corey Kluber (6-2, 3.58 ERA) will get the nod for Francona in his first start against the Twins this season. He has been impressive since returning from the disabled list at the beginning of the month, firing four straight quality starts while going 3-0. The Twins will counter with right-hander Kyle Gibson (4-5, 6.56), looking for his first win against Cleveland this season in his third try overall. Tribe hitters are hitting .347 against him this season.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images