Allen Falters Again as Twins Rally Back in Seventh; Twins 4, Indians 3
Bob Toth | On 29, Aug 2018
It was another bad day for the Cleveland Indians bullpen on Wednesday, as they lost an All-Star reliever early in the afternoon before their all-time saves leader blew a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning of a 4-3 loss at Progressive Field to the Minnesota Twins.
Allen set down Willians Astudillo on a fly out and Joe Mauer on a swinging strike three for the first two outs of the inning. The scuffling right-hander issued a five-pitch walk to Logan Forsythe before Eddie Rosario singled the tying run to third base. Miguel Sano walked on four straight pitches to load the bases and Grossman, the one-time Indians’ minor leaguer, drove a 1-2 pitch through the right side for a two-run single before Sano was thrown out at third trying to advance.
The Twins bullpen faced the minimum over the final three innings. The only base runner in that span – a Melky Cabrera single with one out in the eighth – was erased on a 5-3 lineout double play off of the bat of Jason Kipnis. Trevor Hildenberger retired the side in the ninth for his fifth save in seventh opportunities while getting Francisco Lindor, who had homered off of him in the Twins’ last trip to Cleveland, to ground out to second to end the game.
Minnesota moved to 62-70 on the season with the win, ending its four-game losing streak. Trevor May got the win in relief for the Twins, working an inning and one-third while allowing a single and a walk and striking out a pair.
The Indians (75-57) were unable to chip away at their magic number to clinch the American League Central, which sits at 18.
The seventh inning wasted a good outing from Adam Plutko and heightened the missed opportunities for the Tribe early to put the game away.
After the young righty retired the side in order in the first, the Indians sent eight men to the plate, but managed just a pair of runs. Lindor singled to start the home half off of rookie right-hander Kohl Stewart before a lineout by Michael Brantley. Lindor stole second before Jose Ramirez grounded back to the mound for the second out. Edwin Encarnacion, on his own bobblehead night, drew a walk to extend the inning and Yonder Alonso put Cleveland on the board with a single to center. Lindor scored on the play and Encarnacion moved to third on an error in center by Jake Cave. Two pitches later, Cabrera knocked in Encarnacion with a single to left-center. Kipnis rebounded from an 0-2 count to draw a walk to load the bases, but Yan Gomes grounded a 3-1 pitch to third to waste a huge opportunity to tack on more.
Plutko dodged a big threat in the second. After striking out Sano, he hit Grossman with a pitch. A strikeout of Tyler Austin nearly had him out of the inning, but Cave doubled off of the wall in left. With the tying runs in scoring position, Ehire Adrianza popped out to Kipnis at second.
Astudillo led off the third inning with his first career home run, sending a screamer to the bleachers in left to make it a 2-1 game.
Stewart retired eight straight Indians hitters before Kipnis doubled to right with one out in the fourth. After a strikeout by Gomes, he moved to third on a wild pitch, but a groundout by Greg Allen left him off of the scoreboard.
The missed opportunity proved costly in the top of the fifth as the Twins evened up the score. With one down, Mauer doubled to right. Forsythe struck out for the second out but Rosario doubled over the head of G. Allen in center to tie the game at two. With the go-ahead run in scoring position, Sano grounded out to short.
The Indians responded with a two-out rally in the bottom of the inning to reclaim the lead. Ramirez singled to left and Encarnacion drove a double into the corner, scoring Ramirez from first to put Cleveland back on top, 3-2. Stewart was hooked for May, who walked Alonso before getting Cabrera to line out to end the inning.
Plutko gave up a double to Grossman to start the sixth before retiring Austin on a fly to right, with the runner moving to third on the play. Oliver Perez stepped in for manager Terry Francona and got Cave to ground out to Alonso at first for the second out before striking out Adrianza swinging to leave the tying run at third.
Plutko worked five and one-third innings on the night, allowing two runs on five hits with a pair of walks, one hit batter, and five strikeouts in a no-decision. Perez threw eight of eleven pitches for strikes in recording a pair of big outs, but C. Allen allowed two runs on two hits with two walks and a strikeout, throwing just ten of 22 pitches for strikes in taking his fifth blown save and his sixth loss of the campaign.
“I’m sure it’s not at an all-time high,” said Francona of Allen’s confidence. “That’s part of the game. He’s going through a tough time. He’ll work, and for us to get to where we want to go, we need him real bad, so we’ll work with him.”
Grossman had a pair of hits off of Indians pitching with two RBI. Rosario had a three-hit game, driving in one while scoring once. Cabrera put up the Indians’ only multi-hit game. Gomes extended his hitting streak to six straight with his single.
Prior to the game, the Indians placed left-handed reliever Andrew Miller on the disabled list for the third time this year, this time with inflammation in his left shoulder. Fellow southpaw Tyler Olson was recalled from Triple-A Columbus to assume his spot on the roster.
The season series, tied at nine games apiece, will come down to game #19 between the two clubs on Thursday afternoon in a 1:10 PM ET first pitch. Right-hander Mike Clevinger (9-7, 3.30 ERA) will look to continue his good numbers in August, hoping to build upon a 2-0 record in five starts with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Veteran Jake Odorizzi (5-8, 4.38) will go for the Twins. He is 0-2 on the year against the Indians with a 7.85 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP.
The game will get an unconventional TV treatment, as the Indians will appear in their second game of the year on Facebook-WATCH.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images