Twins Take First, Complete Sweep of Tribe with Shutout; Twins 4, Indians 0
Bob Toth | On 25, Jun 2017
Ervin Santana kept the Indians off of the scoreboard for six innings and his bullpen did the same as the Minnesota Twins completed the three-game sweep in Cleveland to reclaim first place in the American League Central Division with a 4-0 victory on Sunday afternoon.
Just one weekend after entering Target Field and sweeping the Twins (39-34) in four straight, the Indians (39-35) were unable to continue their victorious ways against Minnesota. Despite posting a 7-1 road trip behind a revival of the bats in the lineup, those same threats were unable to produce against the Twins this weekend, dropping three straight while scoring a grand total of two runs in the three-game set. They are now just 15-20 at Progressive Field this season, while the Twins are 23-9 on the road.
Santana was good, but not great, while shutting down the Indians again. In three starts against Cleveland this season, he has allowed just one run. Josh Tomlin had the task of stopper assigned to him on Sunday, but he allowed all four runs and walked a season-high three batters, the most that he had walked in a contest since September 20, 2015.
Both teams stranded a runner in the first, but that would not happen in the second as the Twins struck for a pair of runs off of Tomlin. Eduardo Escobar singled to center and Eddie Rosario reached safely on a bunt single. A pop up by Jorge Polanco gave Tomlin his first out, but Jason Castro doubled to the wall in left to plate both runners and give the Twins a 2-0 lead. Tomlin would walk Byron Buxton, putting two on for Saturday’s hero Brian Dozier, but Dozier grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The story again for the Indians was missed opportunities, as was the case all weekend. They put two on in the second on a one-out single by Lonnie Chisenhall and a two-out single by Bradley Zimmer, but Yan Gomes would be cut down swinging to strand the pair. They left another runner in scoring position the next inning as Jose Ramirez singled with two outs and stole second, but Edwin Encarnacion struck out swinging.
Rosario started the fourth inning with a solo shot to right to extend the Twins lead to 3-0. The Indians would respond with plenty of traffic, but no results in the home half as Chisenhall singled again with one out and moved to second on a wild pitch. Austin Jackson reached on an infield single to put runners on the corners before Zimmer fouled out for the second out. Jackson would advance to scoring position on the second wild pitch of the inning by Santana, but Gomes replicated his second inning efforts with a swinging strikeout to leave two more runners on base in the three-run game.
The fifth inning for the Indians was a near carbon-copy of the third. Ramirez reached base with a double to right with two outs, but Encarnacion was cut down swinging.
The Twins capitalized on the Indians’ missed opportunity in the sixth. Tomlin had worked around a leadoff double in the fifth to prevent more scoring, but in the next frame, Rosario singled to start the inning and came in to score on a one-out double by Castro, making it a 4-0 game. Tomlin would strike out Buxton before issuing his third walk of the day as Dozier drew the free pass on five pitches, bringing Dan Otero on in relief. The right-hander got Joe Mauer to line out to end the inning, the first of four straight batters he would retire on the afternoon.
Cleveland stranded Daniel Robertson, who had taken over for an injured Jackson in the fifth, on first after his one-out single in the sixth. Left-hander Buddy Boshers took over for Santana in the seventh and shut down the Tribe bats, allowing just one base runner (a Chisenhall hit by pitch) in two innings of work.
Brandon Kintzler came on to close out the ball game in the non-save situation, retiring all three he faced, including a strikeout of Gomes for the second out.
Both clubs managed nine hits on the day and each was 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, but the Twins got three big runs from Castro as part of his 2-for-4 day at the plate with two doubles from the eighth spot in the lineup. The Indians left ten runners on base, a devastating figure when drawing zero walks and putting up no runs in a big rivalry game.
Santana earned his tenth win of the season, scattering nine hits but no runs over six innings with seven strikeouts. Tomlin took the loss, his ninth of the season, while allowing four runs on nine hits with the season-high three walks and five strikeouts.
The Twins will continue their road trip with a four-game series in Boston with the Red Sox. The Indians will await the arrival of the Texas Rangers, who will play four straight at Progressive Field beginning Monday night at 7:10 PM ET.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images