After 10 straight losses you’d think the Cleveland Indians finally figured what not to do to win a game. There comes a point where you’d think they exhausted all the bad things that could happen. Unfortunately, baseball is a harsh mistress, and last night she treated the Tribe something terrible.
Out of the gate it looked like the Indians we’d all fallen for earlier in the season. Corey Kluber was up from Columbus to try to add something to a worn-out rotation, and did a good job despite some jitters. A ground out RBI by Justin Morneau gave the lead to Minnesota in the first after Ben Revere singled and Joe Mauer walked. The Tribe came right back and tied it up in the bottom of the frame on Jason Kipnis’ HBP, an Asdrubal Cabrera single and CHoo earning the RBI with a fielder’s choice.
In the bottom of the second still tied at one, Shelley Duncan launched one to the bleachers in left with Michael Brantley on to give the Indians a 3-1 lead, then Cabrera singled later in the inning, driving in Jack Hannahan. That pretty much ended it for Twins starter Sam Deduno and he made it through the fourth with no other damage, ending with four innings of five hit, four run ball with five walks and three K’s.
A Jason Kipnis walk in the sixth turned into a run for the Indians on a two out double by Carlos Santana but the catcher tried to stretch it to three bases and was caught at third to end the inning. He was 4-for-11 in the series with a homer and four RBI’s, so perhaps he’s turning it around.
Kluber made it into the seventh with only the one run, but in that frame a double and an error on Cabrera put two men on and Tony Sipp was unable to pick his starter up. Ben Revere grounded out to drive in a run, then Sipp ended his night on a walk to Joe Mauer. Then Kipnis let a grounder go through his legs off the bat of Justin Morneau and both Mauer and Jamey Carroll scored to make it 5-4.
The Cleveland bullpen made it through the eighth but the offense was likewise stymied and in the ninth Chris Perez came on to close it out. Perez struck out Mauer then gave a single up to Josh Willingham and his pinch runner Darrin Mastrioanni stole second. The ball took a terrible hop on Casey Kotchman on a grounder from Morneau (possibly telekinesis?) and Mastrioanni scored. Ryan Doumit’s double put men at second and third and a flyout by Tsuyoshi Nishioka scored Morneau to give the Twins a 6-5 lead, then Brian Dozier singled to bring home Doumit. It was the second blown save for Perez in three days. Recently called up Frank Herrmann had to close out the inning.
The bottom of the ninth was as easy 1-2-3 as you can get, and the Indians find themselves one loss from tying the franchise all-time record for losing streaks.
The Good: Santana keeps hitting, and Kluber looked alright. Michael Brantley had two more hits and Duncan’s homer was yet another of the little joys we get from having Shelley on the team.
The Bad: Lefty pitching utterly silenced the Indian attack again, when they needed a good late rally. Tony Sipp continues to struggle and Shin-Soo Choo left seven men on base in the clean-up spot.
The Ugly: Chris Perez, man. He’s been just bad (and a little unlucky perhaps) the last couple outings. The announced attendance was 14,813 and by the looks of things they were counting feet. Which means there was a one-legged man there. Or three-legged.
The Delicious: I ate a bacon, onion and jalapeno calzone while listening to this game.