A great outing from Justin Masterson turned into a blowout for Minnesota Monday night as the Twins beat the Indians, 7-2, in the finale of a four-game series at Target Field. The loss knocks Cleveland back to 59-82, 17.5 games behind the first-place White Sox and tied with the Twinkies for last place in the AL Central.
It was a pitchers’ duel for the first few innings as Masterson took a no-hitter into the fourth inning and Sameul Deduno carried a no-no into the sixth. The two starters combined to throw seven half-innings of shutout ball before Justin Morneau‘s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth scored Alexi Casilla and gave the Twins a 1-0 lead.
The Indians finally got something going in the top of the sixth. Shin-Soo Choo drew a one-out walk, then moved to third as Michael Brantley delivered with the Tribe’s first hit of the night. Carlos Santana came through with a sacrifice fly to plate Brantley and tie the game at 1-1.
The Twins struck back in the bottom of the sixth with RBI singles from Ben Revere and Morneau to make it 3-1 Minnesota. In his first game back after missing over two months with a broken arm, Lonnie Chisenhall hit a solo home run off Deduno to make it a one-run game. But it was a case of “one step forward, two steps back” as a Pedro Florimon RBI double and a wild pitch with a runner at third made it 5-2 Twinkies.
Minnesota added two more runs after knocking Masterson out of the game as Mauer hit an RBI single off Scott Maine in the seventh and Frank Herrmann served up a solo shot to Ryan Doumit in the bottom of the eighth. Meanwhile, Tyler Robertson and Kyle Waldrop took it the rest of the way for the Twins as the Indians dropped their third straight and fell into a tie with Minnesota for the worst record in the AL Central.
The Good: Though his final line didn’t show it, Justin Masterson looked great for most of his start Monday. Chop off the sixth and seventh and Masterson held the Twins to one run on two hits in five innings pitched. His meltdown in the later innings was troubling and he got only three strikeouts, but don’t let that overshadow the fact that he took a no-hitter into the fourth inning.
Beyond that, it was great to see Lonnie Chisenhall back in the lineup—especially since he hit a home run. He also drew a walk, something he had managed to do only once in his 74 pre-injury plate appearances this year.
The Bad: The Indians scored one run on three hits against a 29-year-old who had never started an MLB game before this year and entered Monday with a 5.12 FIP. Sometimes it seems like this team avoids scoring runs as a matter of principle.
Interesting Tidbit: Tribe hitters are 10-for-62 (.161 batting average) against Samuel Deduno this year.