Lance Lynn lasted six innings and got two big innings of support from his offense as the Minnesota Twins knocked off the Cleveland Indians for the second straight day, winning behind a 7-1 final.
Lynn’s difficulties lasting late into games has been an issue this season, but he was able to overcome some big early pitch counts to earn his fourth win of the season, ousting Trevor Bauer. The Tribe starter got little support from his offense, which squandered a big bases loaded scoring opportunity in the third only to see the Twins tack on three runs in the bottom of the frame.
The Twins’ free agent addition late in the offseason outlasted a 17-pitch first inning, but needed 21 more to get out of the second as the Indians put up the first run of the afternoon. Greg Allen walked with one out and moved to third on a single by Jason Kipnis. Roberto Perez struck out for the second out with Kipnis breaking for second, but he alertly slammed on the brakes as he was easily gunned down. Allen broke for home and got around a wide throw from Brian Dozier to score on his steal, and Kipnis proceeded safely into second on the double steal and the Indians’ first theft of home since Francisco Lindor accomplished it in 2016. Bradley Zimmer struck out in his first plate appearance off of the disabled list to strand Kipnis at second, but Cleveland had a 1-0 lead.
Bauer protected that lead in the home half, setting down the side in order. The Indians would load the bases with two outs in the third, as Michael Brantley walked with one out, Edwin Encarnacion walked with two outs, and Yonder Alonso was hit by a pitch, but Allen flied to left to leave the bases full.
The Twins struck through quickly in the third with two big drives to right. Ehire Adrianza walked to kick off the frame before a strikeout by Ryan LaMarre. Dozier tied the game with a booming triple high off of the right field wall to score Adrianza. Eddie Rosario pulled his hands in quickly on the very next pitch, turning Bauer’s cutter in into a 42 degree skyscraper that cleared the tall wall for a two-run home run, putting the Twins up, 3-1.
Minnesota would never look back. Lynn retired the side in order in the fourth and escaped a big jam in the fifth after Lindor singled to lead things off and Jose Ramirez walked with one out. Encarnacion could not deliver, however, as he grounded to third to start a double play to end the inning.
Bauer worked around a fourth inning leadoff double by Robbie Grossman to retire six in a row before the Twins added on in the sixth. Logan Morrison singled to center and Grossman hit a grounder towards Kipnis that he could not field cleanly, allowing Morrison to advance safely to second. Max Kepler singled to score Morrison to make it 4-1. Mitch Garver grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Grossman tagged out at home for the first out. Adrianza struck out swinging for the second out, but a single to center by LaMarre drove in Kepler to make it 5-1 while ending Bauer’s afternoon. Dan Otero came on in relief but made just three pitches, giving up an RBI-double to Dozier to left. Oliver Perez, signed by the Indians earlier in the day, entered in relief, but his battery mate could not catch his first pitch to Rosario, allowing LaMarre to score the seventh run of the game.
Trevor Hildenberger allowed a one-out single to Zimmer in a scoreless seventh. Ryan Pressly gave up back-to-back singles to Ramirez and Encarnacion before retiring the next three in order in the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Tyler Duffey handled the ninth, giving up a one-out single to Zimmer and a double to Lindor before getting the final two outs in the air to end the ball game.
The Indians dropped their second straight to the Twins (24-30) and fell to 30-27 on the season. Their lead in the AL Central shrank to two and a half games as the Detroit Tigers won their fourth straight with a 7-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Lynn lasted six innings, allowing just one run on two hits. He walked five and struck out five while throwing a Twins’ season-high 113 pitches. The bullpen worked three scoreless innings of five-hit baseball in relief.
Bauer, making his first start since his 127-pitch outing last Sunday against the Houston Astros, had an unfortunate stat line in large part due to the error on Kipnis and the continued bullpen bleeding. He worked five and two-thirds innings on an extra day’s rest, allowing seven runs (just three earned) on six hits. He walked three batters and struck out eleven, his third double-digit strikeout game in the last four starts and his fourth of the year.
The Indians fell back into some ugly old habits on Saturday, as they could not deliver at all with runners in scoring position. The team combined to go 0-for-9 in those situations and stranded eleven runners on the day. The Twins, meanwhile, were 5-for-13 in similar spots and left five.
Gibson has seen the Tribe a lot in his career with little to show for it – he is 2-6 in 13 starts against Cleveland with a 5.82 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP. He has made ten consecutive starts without a win for the Twins this season after earning a win with six no-hit innings in his season debut on March 31 against Baltimore.
Clevinger bounced back with a good start his last time out against the Chicago White Sox after losing back-to-back starts against the Houston Astros. He allowed just one run on four hits in six and two-thirds innings. He has faced the Twins four times as a starter and three times in relief in his career, posting a 1-2 record with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP. Difficulties minimizing the free pass has been his biggest struggle with the Twins in those outings.
First pitch from Target Field is scheduled for 2:10 PM ET.
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