Kazmir and Kipnis Lead Tribe to Win; Indians 5, Twins 1

The formula is becoming very clear for the Cleveland Indians this season. When they receive good starting pitching, they’re likely to win. When they don’t, they don’t.

Friday evening they received a good outing from Scott Kazmir, timely hitting by Jason Kipnis and hustle by Drew Stubbs to defeat the Minnesota Twins 5-1 at Progressive Field. The victory takes the opening game of the three game series for Cleveland.

The Tribe took an early lead in the bottom of the second inning when Michael Brantley doubled to the right center field fence and trotted home on Mark Reynolds single off the left field wall. Reynolds was out at second base when he overslid the bag. He originally beat the tag, but slid past the base and was tagged out. His long single drove Brantley home and put the Tribe up 1-0.

Cleveland added another run the next inning with a little hustle by Stubbs. He walked to start the inning and advanced to third when Michael Bourn singled through the right side. A slow roller to third base by Mike Aviles could not score Stubbs, but a looping pop up behind the infield caught by Twins’ shortstop Jamey Carroll allowed Stubbs to tag up and score. Carroll’s momentum was taking him away from the infield and when he went to throw, he dropped the ball creating no play at the plate and giving the Tribe a 2-0 lead.

Kazmir (4-4) dazzled most of the game. He danced around base hits in each of the first three innings without allowing a run. His only mistake in the game came in the top of the sixth inning when Brian Dozier hit a leadoff home run to cut the Tribe’s lead to 2-1. It was Dozier’s seventh homer of the season.

Kazmir’s night would end after seven innings. He struck out the side in his final frame, working around a one-out double to Trevor Plouffe. He pitched seven innings, allowing five hits, one run and no walks, while striking out seven on 95 pitches. It was a big outing for Kazmir, who may be fighting for his spot in the rotation when Zach McAllister returns from the disabled list.

Cleveland secured Kazmir’s victory and chased Twins’ starter Samuel Deduno from the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. Reynolds singled off the left field wall and Lonnie Chisenhall walked to start the inning. That was enough to end Deduno’s night and bring Josh Roenicke in from the bullpen.

Roenicke got Yan Gomes to fly out to center field for the first out, but Drew Stubbs singled to left field to score Reynolds and extend the lead to 3-1. Left-hander Brian Duensing entered the game for the Twins to matchup with the Tribe left handed  hitters. Bourn grounded into a fielder’s choice, but beat the double play attempt at first to put runners on the corners. Mike Aviles walked to load the bases and Kipnis got a key two-out base hit with a flare over Carroll’s head to score two runs and make the score 5-1, Cleveland.

Deduno (3-2) was charged with four of the Tribe’s five runs in his six innings of work. He allowed six hits and two walks, while striking out six.

Joe Smith worked an uneventful eighth inning, followed by a three-up, three-down ninth inning from Vinnie Pestano. The tandem retired the six hitters they combined to face.

Tomorrow the Indians will try to win the series on Indians Hall of Fame induction night. Cleveland will induct Carlos Baerga and John Hart into the Tribe’s Hall of Fame in a short ceremony before the game. When the game begins, Corey Kluber (5-4, 3.58) will take the mound for the Tribe, while the Twins will counter with right-hander P.J. Walters (2-2, 3.23). The game does not begin until 7:15 p.m. due to the ceremony.

Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

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