The Indians scored a dozen runs to beat the Minnesota Twins 12-6 and to change their magic number to two games to clinch the playoffs.
The Indians came into Friday night looking for their eighth win in a row and to keep control of their playoff destiny. Pedro Hernandez (3-2) would take the hill for the Twins coming into the game with a 6.05 ERA. The Indians would send Corey Kluber to the mound for the Indians.
In the first inning the Indians would send eight batters to the plate, as the bats came alive. Nick Swisher started the extra base hit train with his 26 double of the year to left field under a diving Darin Mastroianni. Swisher came around to score on Jason Kipnis’ one out triple, to give the Tribe an early 1-0 lead. Next up was Carlos Santana who doubled into right center to score Kipnis. Asdrubal Cabrera kept the momentum going and doubled off the wall in right to score Santana. Yan Gomes would then single to right to score Cabrera. At the end of the first Cleveland led 4-0. Corey Kluber would sit the Twins down with a 1-2-3 first inning.
In the second Drew Stubbs would start it off with a lead off walk. Michael Brantley came into the game with the highest batting average in September in the Majors, hitting .394. Brantley kept his hot streak going with a single into left that put the runners on the corners with nobody out. Swisher hit into a double play but Stubbs would score from third, to put the Indians now ahead 5-0. The Twins had to go to the bullpen, as Hernandez’s day would be over. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire brought in right-hander Shairon Martis. Santana would then get his second double of the night to put runners on second and third with two outs. Ryan Raburn kept it going with a single up the middle to score Kipnis and Santana to put the Indians up 7-0.
In the bottom of the second the Twins would hit back-to-back singles. But Kluber would get out of the inning with a double play. Kluber would then sit down the Twins 1-2-3 again in the third.
With runners on first and second and one out Minnesota got a run on the board in the fourth inning with a single to left by Trevor Plouffe. Cabrera made a nice play to get Kluber out of the inning and keep the Indians lead at 7-1.
In the fifth inning Minnesota went back to the bullpen and turned the game over to righty Liam Hendriks. Cabrera got his second double of the night that put runners on second and third with only one out. Mike Aviles hit a blooper into right that had the second baseman Brian Dozier and right fielder Ryan Doumit running right at each other, Doumit attempted a sliding grab and missed it. Aviles’ hit increased the Cleveland lead 9-1.
With a runner on first base Pedro Florimon hit his ninth home run of the year to make it 9-3. After the Twins got a base hit, Indians pithing coach Mickey Callaway made a trip to the mound. Kluber then got Brain Dozier to hit into a double play. Kluber struck out Oswaldo Arcia to get out of the inning only giving up two runs.
In the sixth Swisher got his second hit of the night when he singled off the wall in right. Hendricks would get out of the inning without letting any more hits.
Minnesota loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth inning. Kluber’s day was over as Indians manager Terry Francona would go to left-hander Rich Hill. Florimon grounded out to first to make it 9-4 and put runners on second and third with two outs. Alex Presley hit a two-out two run single to left, to pull the Twins closer 9-6. The Indians would go back to the bullpen to Chen-Chang Lee (4.50). Lee would get Dozier to strike out to get the Indians back in the dugout with a three run lead.
Cleveland went back to the bullpen in the seventh to left-hander Marc Rzepczynski (3.54). Rzepczynski worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning. In the bottom of the inning Kipnis got a two out double to score Drew Stubbs from second to make it a 10-6 game.
In the top of the ninth inning with Aviles on first Stubbs hit his tenth home run of the year to increase the Indians lead 12-6. The Twins would go to the bullpen to Brain Duensing. Densing got the Twins out of the inning without allowing any more damage. The Indians would bring in Matt Albers to close out the game.
Corey Kluber (11-5) earned the win, pitching five and one-third innings on ten hits and gave up six earned runs. Kluber also had five strikeouts and a walk. Hernandez (3-3) would get the loss going an inning and two-thirds giving up seven hits and allowing six earned runs. The Indians combined to get 17 hits and score 12 runs off Twins pitching.
With the win and the Tampa Bay loss, Cleveland is now tied in the wild card race with Texas one game out. The Indians win their eighth straight game and win their last 13 of 15 games. After tonight’s outcomes the magic number is two games for the Indians to clinch the playoffs. Tomorrow the Indians will send Scott Kazmir (9-9, 4.14) to the mound to face Cole De Vries (0-1, 11.70). First pitch is at 1:05pm EST on Fox as the national game of the week.
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