The Cleveland Indians continued to receive quality pitching and timely hitting as they defeated the Minnesota Twins by a final score of 5-1. The victory is the Indians 3rd in a row and 7th in their last 9 games as their record improves to 37-35. The loss ends a modest 3-game winning streak for the Twins as they fall to 33-37.
Scott Kazmir (4-4, 5.37ERA) earned the victory by holding down the Twins to just 1R/ER on 5 hits striking out 7 and walking 0. He was very efficient and pounded the strike zone throwing 95 pitches, 65 for strikes, and delivered a first pitch strike to 19 of 26 batters he faced. The only mistake he made was a 90-mph fastball that he left up to Brian Dozier who deposited it in the seats in left.
Joe Smith worked a scoreless 8th inning and Vinnie Pestano a scoreless ninth. Neither pitcher allowed a runner to reach base and both were efficient with their pitches with Smith only needing 14 pitches and Pestano just 9.
Sam Denudo (3-2, 3.72 ERA) took the loss for the Twins working 6 innings and allowing 4R/ER on 6 hits striking out 6 and walking 2.
The Indians jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning on a RBI single by Mark Reynolds that drove in Michael Brantley who had doubled. If you search the internet you can find many GIFs of some horrible Mark Reynolds swing and misses so it’s only fitting that a GIF of him oversliding the bag and being tagged out be included here.
The Indians extended their lead to 2-0 on a sacrifice fly to 2nd baseman Brian Dozier to score Drew Stubbs. The ball was a soft line drive that hit Doziers glove and bounded away from him allowing Stubbs to tag up and score. Terry Francona came out of the dugout to argue that Dozier never had possession of the ball he lost the argument.
The Indians added 3 insurance runs in the home half of the 7th inning. Mark Reynolds singled to leadoff the inning and Lonnie Chisenhall followed with a walk which ended the night for Twins starter Sam Deduno. Josh Roenicke came in and retired Yan Gomes on a fly out to center for the first out and Mark Reynolds moved up to 3rd.
Drew Stubbs followed with a RBI single to score Reynolds. Brian Duensing came in and retired Michael Bourn on a fielders choice but walked Mike Aviles to load the bases. Jason Kipnis followed with a 2-out 2-RBI single to give the Indians a 5-1 lead.
Joe Smith and Vinnie Pestano were both sharp in retiring all 6 hitters they faced and Pestano flashed his defensive skills charging off the mound to barehand a ball and throw a seed over to first to get the important 27th out.
The Good: Hands down it was the pitching and not only the results. Each pitcher attacked the strike zone and was efficient.
The Bad: In victory it’s always hard to define a “bad” but Jason Kipnis made a lazy throw on a simple grounder that would have ended the 5th inning. The error did not lead to a run but it did force Kazmir to throw an additional 6 pitches to get out of the inning.
The Indians and Twins will play the middle game of the series tomorrow night at 7:15. The Tribe will send Corey Kluber (5-4, 3.58 ERA) and the Twins counter with right hander P.J. Walters (2-2, 3.23 ERA)