Four-Run Twins Seventh Sinks Tribe; Twins 5, Indians 3
Bob Toth | On 07, Sep 2019
The Minnesota Twins rallied with four runs in the seventh inning to knock off the visiting Cleveland Indians in a 5-3 win on Saturday night.
Facing All-Star Jake Odorizzi, who had posted strong numbers against the Indians in three starts this season, the Cleveland bats struggled to get anything going until the sixth inning, but a two-run outburst gave the club a late lead. While the Indians got a good effort from rookie Aaron Civale against the tough Twins lineup, the bullpen could not protect the one-run lead, coughing up four runs in the seventh, capped by the second home run of the day from Mitch Garver that served as the back-breaker.
It was Garver who got the Twins on the board in the bottom of the first after Odorizzi struck out the side in the top of the frame. Civale struck out Max Kepler before falling behind Garver, 3-1. With his fifth pitch of the at bat, he left a cutter over the plate and Garver blasted it deep to left-center for his 27th homer of the season, putting the Twins up by a 1-0 count.
The Indians were unable to do much against Odorizzi in the early innings. Franmil Reyes reached on a two-out single in the second and Francisco Lindor did the same in the third, but Odorizzi got the final out of each inning with no further threat. The same occurred in the fourth when Jason Kipnis singled to right before Reyes struck out swinging.
Civale had a 1-2-3 second, but ran into troubles in the third and fourth frames. Willians Astudillo singled to left, but was erased on a double play. Civale, who entered with just nine walks surrendered in his first seven career starts, walked three straight, putting Kepler, Garver, and Jorge Polanco on to load the bases. He fell behind 3-1 to Eddie Rosario before getting him to pop to left to leave the bags full.
In the bottom of the fourth, Civale’s own fielding error allowed Miguel Sano to start the inning on first. Luis Arraez doubled to left to put two in scoring position. C.J. Cron grounded to short, where Lindor cut down Sano trying to score for the first out. Astudillo flied to center and Jonathan Schoop grounded into a fielder’s choice force at second.
Odorizzi retired the side in order and came out looking for the rare completion of six innings, but he was unable to do so as he lost the strike zone similarly to Civale several innings earlier. After getting Lindor to pop to second, he issued back-to-back walks to Oscar Mercado and Carlos Santana to put two on. The struggling Yasiel Puig fouled off a pair of pitches before splitting the gap in right-center with an RBI-double to tie the game at two. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli hooked Odorizzi for right-hander Tyler Duffey, but after striking out Kipnis and with Reyes at the plate, he uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Santana to score from third to give the Indians a 2-1 lead.
Tyler Clippard and Adam Cimber combined to work the sixth, preventing a one-out double from Sano from causing any harm. But in Cimber’s second inning of relief in the seventh, a single up the middle to a diving Lindor allowed Astudillo to reach safely and Schoop blasted a triple for his first hit of the month, tying the game at two. Manager Terry Francona went to his bullpen for Oliver Perez, who walked Kepler on five pitches before being replaced by Nick Goody. Garver stepped up and played the hero, driving a 1-1 pitch the opposite way and over the wall in right for a three-run blast. His second of the game and 28th of the year gave the Twins a 5-2 lead.
The Indians struck through for a run in the eighth, but missed out on a chance for more against Sergio Romo. After the veteran right-hander got Mercado on a grounder and Santana on a strikeout looking, Puig doubled to left and Kipnis drove him in with a single to center. Kipnis advanced to second on the throw to the plate, but he moved no further as Reyes struck out on three straight sliders from the soft-tossing righty to end the inning.
Hunter Wood kept the score at 5-3 with a scoreless bottom of the eighth, but the Indians were unable to make waves against closer Taylor Rogers. He earned his 25th save of the season by retiring the Tribe in order, getting a first pitch comebacker from pinch-hitter Yu Chang, a fly to right by Roberto Perez, and a strikeout swinging of a second pinch-hitter, Jordan Luplow.
The costly loss moved the Indians to 82-61 and seven in back of the Twins in the loss column. Cleveland is now 39-32 on the year on the road. The Twins improved to 88-54 on the season and 40-30 at home. They hold a six and a half game lead over the Indians in the American League Central.
Odorizzi lasted five and one-third innings, unable to finish six innings again. He allowed two runs on four hits, walking two in his final inning while striking out ten on the night. He got 20 swings and misses from an Indians lineup unable to keep up with him. The bullpen allowed just one run on three hits with five strikeouts over the final three and two-thirds innings.
Civale left after a quick five inning effort. He allowed a run on three hits with three walks and four strikeouts on just 80 pitches (42 strikes). The bullpen implosion behind him was responsible for four runs on four hits in three innings, with Cimber charged for two of them while taking his third loss of the season. Perez and Goody each were charged with a run.
Garver went 2-for-3 out of the two-hole with two homers and four runs batted in. He also walked on the night. Astudillo had a pair of singles to the left side and scored once. Cron struck out in three of his four plate appearances.
Puig and Kipnis both had a pair of hits and drove in runs for the Tribe. It was a less productive day at the plate for Santana, who went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk, and Reyes, who was 1-for-4 with a single and three strikeouts.
Before the game, the Twins learned that Friday night’s starting pitcher Michael Pineda had been suspended 60 games by Major League Baseball for violating the league’s drug policy for testing positive for a banned diuretic. The Twins also played without Nelson Cruz, who was held out of the lineup by Baldelli after leading Friday’s game with left wrist soreness.
The two teams will square off again on Sunday afternoon in the rubber match of the three-game set from Target Field. Minnesota had not announced a starting pitcher for Sunday’s contest at the time of this story. Mike Clevinger (10-2, 2.71 ERA) will start for Cleveland.
Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images