Friday night the Indians snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
After coming back from an early deficit, Trevor Bauer gave the Indians six solid innings against the Twins Phil Hughes, but the bullpen could not hold the lead and Jose Ramirez bobbled a potential double play in the ninth inning. The late inning miscues resulted in blowing a 4-2 lead and losing 5-4 in 10 innings. The loss likely eliminates the Tribe from any chance at postseason play.
Ramirez’s miscue was a tough play, and not ruled an error, but it was a play that could have been made. With two on and one out, the double play would have ended the game and given the Indians the win.
Minnesota jumped on top and took an early lead in the bottom of the third inning when Oswaldo Arcia hit a solo home run to right field. Arcia’s shot put the Twins up 1-0 and was his 4th home run of his career against Bauer. It was his 19th round tripper of the season.
The Tribe answered right back in the top of the fourth inning, tying and taking the lead with three straight two-out base hits. David Murphy doubled off the right field wall and Lonnie Chisenhall singled to center field to tie the game at one against Hughes and the Twins. Chisenhall advanced to second base on Aaron Hicks’ wild throw from center field and it paid dividends when Mike Aviles singled through the left side of the infield, allowing Chisenhall to score and give the Indians a 2-1 lead.
It was a short-lived lead, however, as Bauer’s second hit allowed of the evening was another home run to right field. This time it was rookie Kennys Vargas, planting his ninth homer of the season into the seats and tying the game at 2-2 through four innings.
In the top of the sixth inning the Feisty Featherheads retook the lead when they got in on the solo home run action, themselves. Michael Brantley crushed a solo home run into the right field seats. The 408-foot blast gave the Indians a 3-2 lead and was Brantley’s 20th home run of the season. His 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases makes it just the ninth time in franchise history the feat has been completed and the first since Shin-Soo Choo did it in 2010.
The Indians tacked on another run in the top of the seventh when Roberto Perez started the inning with a double down the right field line. Arcia misplayed the ball in the right field corner and Perez was able to advance to third base with no one out. Bourn hit a sacrifice fly to deep right center field and Perez trotted home easily to give the Indians a 4-2 lead.
But then things took a turn for the worse for Cleveland and Bauer. After allowing back-to-back singles to Joe Mauer and Vargas to start the bottom of the seventh, Bauer was removed for Scott Atchison. Atchison struck out Trevor Plouffe and Kurt Suzuki, but Marc Rzepczynski allowed Arcia to single to right center field and cut the Tribe lead to 4-3.
In the ninth inning, Cody Allen allowed a double to Suzuki and single to Arcia with one out. It looked like the Indians could end the game with a double play, but Ramirez bobbled the grounder from Hicks and had to settle for a fielder’s choice. A run scored to tie the score and the two teams were headed for extra innings.
Kyle Crockett (4-1) took over for the Indians on the mound in the 10th and did not fare well. He immediately allowed singles to Danny Santana and Brian Dozier, then intentionally walked Mauer. He struck out Vargas before Josh Tomlin relieved him, allowing a single to Plouffe that plated the winning run, giving Minnesota a 5-4 win.
The Indians now fall to 79-74 and are six games back in the division and 4.5 games back in the Wild Card race. Jared Burton (3-5) pitched the top of the 10th inning to earn the win for Minnesota.
Saturday the Indians will send rookie southpaw T.J. House (3-3, 3.42) to the mound against the Twins. Minnesota will counter with right-hander Trevor May (3-4, 7.71) in the evening contest at Target Field. Game time is slated for 7:10 p.m. ET.
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