The Cleveland Indians defeated the Minnesota Twins by a final score of 12-6 and coupled with the Tampa Bay Rays loss to the Toronto Blue Jays they move into a tie for the top wild card spot. They remain a game ahead of the Texas Rangers who defeated the Los Angeles Angels.
After the stress of nearly blowing a 6-1 9th inning lead Thursday and having the closer tell the manager he can’t continue to cost the team games and the manager removing him as closer the Tribe needed a stress free victory.
Early on Friday evening it appeared that the team was going to get exactly what it needed. Even before Corey Kluber took the mound he was backed by four 1st inning runs.
The Indian hitters attacked Twins starter Pedro Hernandez for 5 hits including 4 extra base hits to push across 4 runs. Jason Kipnis tripled in Nick Swisher who had doubled, Carlos Santana followed with a double of his own to drive in Swisher, Asdrubal Cabrera drove in Santana with a double, and Yan Gomes dropped a single to the opposite field to plate Cabrera.
The offense continued to press Hernandez in the 2nd inning knocking him out of the game. Drew Stubbs drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a single by Michael Brantley which extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Nick Swisher grounded into a double play as Drew Stubbs came in to score the Indians 5th run but like so many times this season – even with 2-outs and nobody on the Indians weren’t finished.
Jason Kipnis singled and manager Ron Gardenhire had seen enough and went to his bullpen and brought in Shairon Martis who was greeted with a Carlos Santana as Kipnis pulled into 3rd. Ryan Raburn singled up the middle to score both Santana and Kipnis to push the lead to 7-0.
Stress free evening right?
Corey Kluber allowed a RBI single to Trevor Plouffe to cut the lead to 7-1 in the 4th inning but the Indians offense came right back in the top of the 5th on a 2-out 2-RBI single off the bat of Mike Aviles which scored Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana.
Continue to relax
Kluber now had a 9-1 lead to work with but threw a 2-0 sinker to Pedro Florimon that didn’t sink and Florimon deposited for a 2-run homer to cut the lead to 9-3.
Hill got Pedro Florimon to hit a ground ball to first but it was too soft and Nick Swisher’s only play was to throw to Hill covering first and a run crossed the plate to cut the lead to 9-4.
Hill was left in the game to face Alex Pressely who delivered a key 2-RBI single to cut the Indians lead to 9-6.
The Twins were back into the game only trailing 9-6 and they were in to the Indians bullpen.
Marc Rzepczynski came in to work a scoreless 7th inning on just 12 pitches 10 for strikes.
Breathing Room Returns
The Tribe added an insurance run in the top of the 8th on a RBI double by Jason Kipnis.
After Rzepczynski’s strong performance and a 10-6 lead Justin Masterson came in to make his second relief appearance since returning from the disabled list.
Masterson allowed a leadoff walk but locked in and struck out the next three Twins hitters to end the 8th.
With 1-on and 2-out it appeared that Liam Hendricks had gotten Drew Strubbs to strike out swinging but on appeal 1b ump Larry Vanover said Stubbs had checked his swing. Stubbs took advantage of the moment and delivered a 2-run home run to give the Indians a 12-6 lead.
Matt Albers came in to work a scoreless 9th inning.
Corey Kluber got the win to improve to 11-5 with a 3.85 ERA but did not pitch well. Given leads of 7-0 and 9-3 he was only able to work 5.1 innings. He allowed 6R/ER on 1o hits striking out 5 and walking 1.
Pedro Hernandez took the loss to fall to 3-3 with a 6.83 after lasting only 1.2 innings and being charged with 6R/ER on 7 hits striking out 1 and walking 1.
Drew Stubbs hit his 10th home run of the season to join 9 teammates with 10 or more homers this year. The only other team to have 10 players with 10 or more homers was the 2009 Indians. The MLB record for players on a team with 10 or more homers is 11 by the 2004 Detroit Tigers. Currently, Jason Giambi and Mike Aviles each have 9 homers each.
The Indians offense had 17 hits including 3 apiece from Asdrubal Cabrera and Jason Kipnis. Every player in the starting lineup had at least one hit.
It’s September 28th, the Indians were victorious, they are tied for the AL Wild Card lead, they have a magic number of 1 to guarantee that they will play beyond Sunday…..let’s end this on a positive not.