Tribe Streak Ends on Repeated Missed Opportunities; Twins 4, Indians 1
Bob Toth | On 11, Aug 2019
Cleveland’s four-game winning streak and brief return to the top spot in the American League Central came to an end on Saturday as Jake Odorizzi and the Minnesota bullpen pitched around consistent base traffic in a 4-1 Twins win.
The Minnesota All-Star Odorizzi played the stopper again after four subpar starting pitching performances from the men around him in the Twins starting rotation this week. He was hardly at his sharpest, allowing five hits and four walks in five and two-thirds innings, but he did the most important aspect of his job, keeping the Indians from crossing home plate safely.
“As long as they don’t score, that’s what my job is, to keep them out from touching home,” he shared after earning his career-high 13th win of the season.
After waiting out a rain delay at the outset of one hour and 50 minutes, Odorizzi took the mound and promptly walked Francisco Lindor on four straight fastballs. It set the tone for a busy day on the bases for the Indians, but they could not come through even after a one-out single by Carlos Santana as Odorizzi got his second strikeout of the inning by setting down Yasiel Puig on four pitches before Jose Ramirez flied to right.
Cleveland had two more runners in the second and came away empty-handed. Greg Allen walked with one down and moved to second on a groundout by Roberto Perez. Tyler Naquin singled to short to put runners on the corners, but Lindor could not deliver as he grounded out to first. The Indians loaded the bases against Odorizzi in the third. Santana walked with one out and Puig singled to put on a pair. Ramirez struck out for the second out before Jason Kipnis drew the fourth walk of the day against Odorizzi to load the bases. Three pitches later, Allen cut and missed to leave the ducks on the pond.
Indians starter Adam Plutko had far less difficulty than Odorizzi over the first three innings. He gave up a one-out single to Jorge Polanco in the first before striking out the next two. He retired the side in order in the second with three sky balls and he got three liners in the third around a one-out walk by Ehire Adrianza.
The Indians wasted a two-out double by Lindor in the fourth as Oscar Mercado flied out to left. The Twins followed with the biggest inning of the night to punch the Tribe in the mouth with a two-out rally. Mitch Garver doubled with two down and Luis Arraez drove a second payoff pitch from Plutko to the gap in right-center and all the way to the wall for an RBI-triple to give the Twins the lead. C.J. Cron put the next Plutko pitch into right field for a single to easily score Arraez with the second run of the inning. Marwin Gonzalez moved Cron to second with a single and Adrianza singled to right, but Cron was gunned out at the plate by Puig to prevent further scoring.
Odorizzi stranded a runner at third in the fifth after a double by Puig before the Twins tacked on with another run. Max Kepler parked a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left for his 32nd homer of the season to make it a 3-0 game.
The Twins starter fled the game in the sixth after facing another early threat. Allen opened the inning with a double and moved third on a fly out by Perez. Naquin popped to short before Twins manager Rocco Baldelli retrieved his starter for Sergio Romo, who got Lindor to pop to second to strand another runner at third.
Plutko pitched a perfect sixth before the Indians got on the scoreboard against Romo in the top of the seventh. With two down, Puig destroyed a 1-2 slider, relocating it 455 feet into a different area code to make it a 3-1 deficit. But Plutko, who came back out for the bottom of the seventh, gave up a leadoff homer to Gonzalez to get the run right back and he turned the game over to Tyler Clippard after giving up a single to Adrianza. Clippard got out of the inning with a double play ball and a fly out around a Polanco single to Santana at first.
Baldelli went to his closer Taylor Rogers for a six-out save and he got the job done. He gave up a leadoff single to Kipnis before getting a double play ball, then retired the next four to close out the victory.
Minnesota moved back into sole possession of first place in the American League Central at 71-46, bring a close to a four-game losing skid. The Indians fell to 70-47 with the defeat, ending the team’s similar four-game winning streak.
Odorizzi worked five and two-thirds scoreless innings, needing 102 pitches to get his 17 outs. Despite some control issues (leading to four walks), he got 18 swings and misses from the Tribe bats and struck out six. The Twins as a whole shut down the Tribe bats despite consistent opportunities at the plate with runners in scoring position, as the Indians stranded 10 men in a 1-for-12 performance with runners in scoring position.
Plutko was on the way to a quality start before the seventh inning homer by Gonzalez ended it. He allowed four runs on nine hits in six-plus innings, walking one and striking out three. The bullpen tandem of Clippard and Josh Smith kept the game close, but the offense could not get going against the pesky lefty Rogers.
Another All-Star, right-hander Jose Berrios (10-6, 3.24 ERA), will take the mound for Minnesota on Sunday, looking to keep the Twins alone in first place while trying to recover from the worst start of his big league career his last time out. The Indians will send a new face for the Twins to see in rookie right-hander Aaron Civale (1-1, 0.75), who will make the third start of his MLB career.
First pitch from Target Field is scheduled for 2:10 PM ET on Sunday afternoon.
Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images