The Indians lost to the Twins 3-2 on Friday night. Well, last night was a case of deja vu as the Indians fell the to Twins again by a score of 3-2. This time the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the bullpen who, after 5 spectacular innings from Corey Kluber, gave up three runs before even recording an out. Not exactly how anyone envisioned the start of the second half of the season.
Last night’s game will never be confused for a barn burner as both offenses struggled mightily to get anything going. Together they combined for 11 hits, five for the Indians and six for the Twins.
One of the few bright spots for the Indians last night was Jason Kipnis. He continued his hot hitting ways going 2 for 4 and delivering the biggest hit of the game for the Tribe. In the top of the sixth inning, with Michael Bourn on base, Kipnis slapped Kevin Correia’s 1-1 offering to left with authority. The ball sailed over the wall and landed in the waiting hands of the fans to put the Tribe up 2-0.
Unfortunately, the lead wouldn’t hold up.
In the bottom of the sixth, Terry Francona went to his bullpen in a bizarre turn of events. Over the course of the first five innings, Kluber was dominant allowing only three hits and two walks while striking out seven Twins along the way. What was confusing was that Kluber had only thrown 95 pitches to that point. There is no reason to think Kluber couldn’t have gone one more inning, or at least started the sixth. Instead, Rich Hill entered the game and things went to hell in a hand basket.
Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau led off with a walk and single. Ryan Doumit then his a squibber to third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall who charged hard looking to make a play. Unfortunately, he made the wrong play. Rather than getting the sure out at first with the slow Doumit running, Chisenhall inexplicably threw home in a misguided attempt to nail Mauer at the plate. The throw sailed wide to Carlos Santana’s right, allowing Mauer to score while also putting runners at second and third with no outs. Chris Colabello followed with an RBI single to tie the game at two and then Clete Thomas delivered an RBI ground out following an Aaron Hicks strike out. By the time the inning was over the Twins led 3-2.
That’s all the scoring they would need. Unlike the Indians bullpen, the Twins bullpen was able to navigate its way through three innings of scoreless relief work. The Indians advanced the tying run to second in the top of the ninth, but were unable to push Drew Stubbs around to score. All-Star closer Glen Perkins refused to falter and the Twins topped the Tribe 3-2.
The Good: Corey Kluber was dominant over the course of five innings of work and Jason Kipnis went 2 for 4 with a two run home run. Other than that, there wasn’t much else to like about last night’s game.
The Bad: Lonnie Chisenhall’s decision making and Rich Hill’s inability to work out of trouble. Chisenhall’s decision to try to get Mauer at the plate led to two more runs scoring. Chisenhall needs to learn when to get the sure out. Yes, going to first would have allowed a run to score, but the odds of a run scoring from second with one out are much less than runners on second and third with no outs. Bad decision and a bad play doomed them.