The Minnesota Twins avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians, taking Tribe pitching deep six different times, rolling to an easy 10-2 win on Wednesday afternoon.
Logan Allen’s struggles in the rotation for Cleveland continued as he was tagged for three first inning home runs and did not last the second inning in a taxing day for the Indians bullpen. The poor performance, which included six runs earned on five hits in just an inning and a third, earned Allen a demotion following the contest, with the Indians off until their series in Chicago on Friday.
Allen missed with the first pitch of the game, but the second offering to Byron Buxton was pushed over the right field wall for a leadoff home run. Josh Donaldson worked the count full and blasted a homer over the wall in left to make it 2-0. Nelson Cruz walked before Jorge Polanco blasted the third homer of the inning over the left-center wall on a 3-1 heater to give the Twins a commanding 4-0 lead. Allen settled down to get the next three in order.
The Indians got a two-out hit from Jose Ramirez in the bottom of the first, but could not do any damage against JA Happ. Minnesota then got back to work against Allen, quickly knocking him off of the mound. After Andrelton Simmons grounded to short, Alex Kirilloff singled to center and moved to second on a wild pitch. A double by Buxton put two in scoring position and brought manager Terry Francona out of the third base dugout for Rule 5 guy Trevor Stephan. He lost Donaldson to load the bases and Cruz drove a heater deep to right for a two-run single, giving Minnesota a 6-0 lead.
Cleveland got a run back in the bottom of the inning. Amed Rosario drove an 0-2 pitch to right for a solo shot, putting the Tribe on the board, 6-1. But Willians Astudillo countered with a one-out homer of his own off of Stephan in the top of the third.
Happ retired the Indians in order in the third and fourth before the Twins added another run. Mitch Garver drove the second pitch from Sam Hentges in his second inning of work over the left field wall to make it 8-1. He added a two-run shot off of Hentges in the seventh with the final two runs of the game for the Twins.
Happ allowed one more run to the Tribe in the fifth. A. Rosario doubled to right, moved to third on a grounder, and scored on a grounder to short by Yu Chang. It proved to be the last real threat by the Indians, who got solo base runners on in the sixth (Jordan Luplow one-out walk) and seventh (Eddie Rosario leadoff single) against Happ and in the ninth (Jake Bauers leadoff single) against Randy Dobnak, but could not get another runner past first base. Happ finished with seven innings worked, allowing a pair of runs on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts after flirting with a no-no his last time out against Pittsburgh.
The bullpen after Allen had its woes. Stephan worked an inning and two thirds, allowing a run on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Hentges, a candidate to take Allen’s rotation spot, was tagged for three runs (two earned) in three innings of work, allowing five hits while striking out a pair over a team-high 53 pitches on the day. Kyle Nelson made his season debut, working a scoreless ninth in his second Major League appearance.
“I’m upset I let my teammates down and I’m upset that the last three outings have come to this, but it’s part of it,” said Allen of his short start. “I just have to go down there [to the minors] and attack and when I come back, hopefully we don’t have these tough conversations.”
Minnesota (8-15) will head home to the Twin Cities for a three-game series with the first place Kansas City Royals. Cleveland (11-12) will hit the road for Chicago, starting a three-game set in the Windy City against the White Sox.
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