The Indians got a solid performance out of Scott Kazmir and Drew Stubbs come through in the clutch for the second time in a week as the Tribe narrowly defeated the Twins 3-1 on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Indians are now only one and a half games back in the AL Wild card race.
Scott Kazmir labored his way through six innings of work but ended up taking a no decision. He allowed only one Minnesota run to cross the plate on seven hits and a walk while also striking out eight on the day. It was the first time Kazmir had looked this sharp since he shut down the Marlins over six innings back on August 4. The performance also helped ease any concerns that Kazmir was entering into a dead arm period. His arm looked alive and well all day.
The Indians took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third following an RBI single by Jason Kipnis. It was Kipnis’ team leading 75th RBI of the season. The run was also the first of two that Michael Bourn would score on the day.
Meanwhile, the Twins battled back to tie the game in the top of the fifth in the most unconventional way possible. With runners at the corners and one out, Doug Bernier pushed a bunt to the right side of the infield. Clete Thomas scored easily on the play and the bunt was so perfectly placed that Bernier was able to reach first uncontested. The RBI single made it a 1-1 game and spoiled any chance Kazmir had for picking up the win.
Then, after struggling for most of the afternoon to get much of anything going offensively, Drew Stubbs delivered the biggest hit of the game. A little less than a week after he hit a home run to give the Indians a win in a 14-inning marathon, Stubbs hit another late inning go ahead home run to give the Indians the lead. This time the homer came off of Jared Burton and sailed over the wall in deep center. At that point it was 2-1 Tribe. They would add another run a few batters later when Nick Swisher singled home Michael Bourn to make it a 3-1 ball game.
Chris Perez came on to close things out in the top of the ninth, to earn his 21st save of the season. Cody Allen and Joe Smith also contributed a shut out inning apiece with Smith earning his fifth win of the season.
The Indians will now travel to Atlanta to take on the Braves in three game series that begins Tuesday at 7:05. This will be the first time the Indians have faced the Braves since 2007.
The Good: Scott Kazmir appears to be back to the form we saw throughout most of June and July. After two hiccups in a row, Kazmir finally turned in a performance that could carry the Indians. Unfortunately, he was unable to get the win. Major praise also has to be given to Drew Stubbs. For the second time this week he homered to give the Indians a victory.
The Bad: The Indians committed four errors on the day and were out hit by the Twins. That is typically a recipe for disaster, but somehow the Indians found a way to battle through and get the victory.