Twins Rally in Seventh to Take Opener from Tribe; Twins 5, Indians 3
Bob Toth | On 12, Jul 2019
So long, six-game winning streak. The Cleveland Indians lost a 3-1 lead in a three-run Minnesota rally in the seventh inning and the Twins held on for a 5-3 victory.
Hard-charging into the break winners of six in a row, the Indians bounced back from a first inning deficit to take a 3-1 lead after six innings, but the bullpen could not protect the lead in relief of starter Mike Clevinger. Nick Goody’s throwing error in the seventh helped the Twins put together their game-changing rally to fend off the Tribe.
The Twins jumped out in front three batters into the night. In typical Twins fashion this year, it was the long ball that put the run on the board as Nelson Cruz drove a 2-2 four-seamer over the wall in center to put Minnesota up, 1-0.
Kyle Gibson skated through the first three innings with a little traffic, but no problems. Oscar Mercado reached on an infield single and moved to second on a throwing error by Miguel Sano at third, but he was stranded as Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis could not push him across. Jose Ramirez opened the second with a single to right and stole his 19th base of the season, but he moved no further on two strikeouts and a foul out by the bottom half of the order.
Things changed in the fourth as the Indians got to Gibson and knocked him out of the game. After fouling off three pitches and working the count to 2-2, Santana caught a changeup and played some home run derby, sending it over the wall in right-center to tie the game. Kipnis drew a walk and moved to third on a throwing error by the first baseman Ehire Adrianza on a fielder’s choice grounder by Ramirez. Bobby Bradley grounded back to the mound for the first out and Jake Bauers was cut down swinging before Roberto Perez came through with a big knock to right, scoring both Kipnis and Ramirez to put the Indians out in front, 3-1. Greg Allen was plunked to put two on and manager Rocco Baldelli went to the mound to retrieve his starter for Trevor May, who got Francisco Lindor to fly to right to strand a pair.
Clevinger found himself in a deep jam in the fifth. Luis Arraez singled and moved to third on a double by Sano. A grounder to third by Adrianza forced the runners to hold on the first out. Three straight sliders to Byron Buxton put the second out on the board on a swinging strikeout. The top of the order swung around as the dangerous Max Kepler stepped to the dish. He got ahead in the count 3-1, but Clevinger got a swinging strike with pitch five to force the count full. Kepler fouled off two 97 MPH heaters before Clevinger pumped the next one by him to strand two big runs in scoring position.
May retired the side in order in the bottom of the fifth to send Clevinger back to the mound. He immediately walked the leadoff man Jorge Polanco and got the hook for submariner Adam Cimber. He got a fielder’s choice grounder before hitting Marwin Gonzalez with a pitch, but a big double play ball off of the bat of Mitch Garver took care of the inning.
Goody entered for the seventh inning, but put himself in harm by his own doing. After a liner to third to open the inning by Arraez, Sano reached on an error by Goody. He then walked Adrianza and Sano moved to third on a fly to right by Buxton for out number two. Oliver Perez came on to face the lefty Kepler, but the southpaw failed to retire him as he drove home Sano with a single to first on a 1-2 pitch (on a play overruled on replay). The All-Star Polanco capped the rally with a double deep to center over the head of Mercado to score both Adrianza and Kepler to put the Twins back in front, 4-3. Nick Wittgren entered and struck out Gonzalez after a walk of Cruz.
Ryne Harper pitched the seventh and set the Indians down in order before Garver added on to the Twins lead with a big insurance run. Leading off the eighth, he drove Tyler Clippard’s second pitch of the game over the wall in center to make it a 5-3 game.
Taylor Rogers gave up an infield one-out single to Kipnis in the eighth, but Ramirez grounded into a double play. He returned for the ninth, looking for the two-inning save, and locked it up by getting a fly out to right by Jordan Luplow before back-to-back strikeouts of Bauers and Perez.
Zack Littell earned his second win of the year for the Twins, who moved to 57-33 while picking a game back up on the Indians. Perez took the loss, allowing a run on two hits in the seventh, for his second defeat of the season. The Indians fell to 50-39 and trail the Twins by six and a half games. It was just their fourth loss of the season when leading after six innings.
The Twins lineup had eight hits, with eight of nine men in the lineup assisting the cause. Gonzalez went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and a walk.
Ramirez had a good day at the plate and in the field for the Tribe, as he went 2-for-4 and scored a run. He is now hitting .221 on the year. Perez, who drove in two of the Tribe’s three runs in the fourth with a single, struck out in his other three trips. Santana extended his on-base streak to 30 straight with his home run, his 20th of the year.
A high pitch count helped force Clevinger off of the mound for Cleveland after facing one batter in the sixth. He allowed a run on four hits, walking two and striking out six. He threw 92 pitches while retiring 15 batters, but the overall good outing despite the short length dropped his season ERA down to 3.99.
Gibson lasted just three and two-thirds for the Twins as he got a quick hook from Baldelli. He gave up three runs, but just one earned, on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
Game two of this key three-game series is scheduled for Saturday night in a 7:10 PM ET first pitch. The Indians will send Trevor Bauer (8-6, 3.61 ERA) to the mound first, looking for his first win against Minnesota this season in his third start against them. The Twins will call on All-Star right-hander Jake Odorizzi (10-4, 3.15), who will be activated from the 10-day injured list prior to the game.
Photo: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire (via Getty Images)