The Cleveland Indians spoiled a solid seven innings on the mound from Trevor Bauer as the bullpen coughed up a late lead with an error and wild pitch in the ninth inning of a 4-2 loss on Thursday night to the Minnesota Twins.
In his return to the starting rotation and making his final start of the season, Bauer allowed a run on two hits, walked three, and struck out three over seven complete frames. He threw 92 pitches, 54 for strikes. He faced the minimum through three, wiping out a pair of walks on double plays, but gave up a pair of doubles in the fourth to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead. Joe Mauer hit a one-out double to left-center and scored on a ground rule double to center by Trevor Plouffe.
Minnesota starter Tyler Duffey had kept the Indians at bay in a tie game until a two-run homer from Roberto Perez in the bottom of the seventh swung the score in Cleveland’s favor, 2-1. The Tribe had previously put runners in scoring position in three prior innings but were unable to tie the game.
The lead would be short-lived, as the Twins scored quickly off of reliever Bryan Shaw in the eighth. Danny Santana drew a pinch-hit one-out walk and scored on a double to left from Eduardo Escobar. In the ninth off of Cody Allen, Plouffe reached with one out on a throwing error by Jose Ramirez, a target of the Twins after his home run antics the night before. Eddie Rosario singled Eduardo Nunez, pinch-running for Plouffe, over to third and advanced to second on the throw. Both moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch from Allen that gave the Twins the lead, and Rosario touched the bag later in the at bat on a Torii Hunter sacrifice fly.
Kevin Jepsen worked a relatively smooth ninth for the save.
Cleveland (78-80) will welcome the Boston Red Sox into town for the first time this season as the two clubs conclude the 2015 regular season beginning Friday. The Indians will need a sweep and for Mother Nature to not wash out any games to be able to finish with a winning record for the season. Josh Tomlin will toe the rubber for the Tribe in game one’s 7:10 PM ET start.
W: Glen Perkins (3-5)
L: C. Allen (2-5)
S: K. Jepsen (15)
HRs: R. Perez (7, 7th inning off Duffey, 1 on, 1 out)
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images