Indians fall to Twins 8–7 despite power surge
The Cleveland Indians entered tonight’s contest against the Minnesota Twins only two games behind the division-leading Chicago White Sox behind the hot-hitting Eddie Rosario.
Despite a homer fest by the Tribe, Minnesota jumped on the Indians pitchers and scored an 8–7 victory.
Danny Coulombe drew the start for the Twins, his first start in the big leagues while functioning as an opener. Coulombe got the first out before Amed Rosario crushed a four-seam fastball 406 feet to the left field seats, snapping an 0-for-16 slump to give the Indians an early one-run cushion.
With Eddie Rosario reaching base on a two-out error and stealing second, Bobby Bradley demolished a hanging slider 432 feet to dead-center, giving Cleveland a 3–0 lead off of Coulombe through a single frame.
Cal Quantrill took the hill for the Tribe and gave up a leadoff triple to Luis Arraez that Josh Naylor lost in the right field sunshine. Quantrill was able to get Josh Donaldson to foul out, though the ball was hit deep enough to allow Arraez to score and get the Twins a run back.
A caught liner by Bradley and a foul out by Nelson Cruz ended the first frame.
Coulombe went a 1 ⅔ innings as the opener, giving up two hits and three runs, with only one earned run charge. He struck out two batters, delivering 32 pitches with 23 strikes. Griffin Jax finished off the second inning for Coulombe and ended up pitching through the sixth inning.
After allowing a leadoff double to Nick Gordon who was erased on a fielder’s choice by Andrelton Simmons, Arraez got his second triple of the night off of Quantrill and scored Simmons. Harold Ramirez tried to slide for the ball but ended up kicking it away. One batter later Josh Donaldson knocked in his second run to even up the score.
The wheels fell off for Quantrill in that same inning with a monstrous two-run blast by Alex Kirilloff to left-center field and handing the Twins a 5–3 lead, with four runs scored on four pitches.
The rookie Jax got through the third inning easily before loading the bases with one out in the fourth frame, with opponents hitting 26-for-50 in bases loaded situations against Minnesota pitching on the year.
He struck out Bradley Zimmer on a six pitch at-bat with an 0–2 slider. However, Hedges came up clutch by pulling a single to left field to plate two runs and tying the ballgame up at five apiece.
Jax had Eddie Rosario in a 2–2 count with two outs in the fifth inning before the former Twins outfielder continued his homecoming by belting a 374-foot rocket to the right field seats, and gave Cleveland a 6–5 lead. The solo blast extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
Quantrill’s night ended in the fifth inning after allowing a single and a walk with a strikeout sandwiched in between.
Nick Sandlin came on in relief and allowed one of the two inherited runners to score before getting the final two outs of the frame with the game, but not before Minnesota was able to even the score heading into the sixth.
The final line for Quantrill: 4 ⅓ innings, giving up six hits and six runs, walking a batter and only striking out two Twins hitters. He threw 63 pitches with 42 finding their way into the strike zone.
The Twins had two outs and runners on the corners in the sixth with Arraez getting his third hit of the night, a two-run double to deep center as the Twins regained an 8–6 lead.
Hansel Robles came on for the save in the ninth and gave up a one out homer to Josh Naylor, his seventh of the year and a streak of 11 Indians hitters retired in a row.
Bradley Zimmer lined a single past the first base bag but ended up as the second out when trying to stretch his hit for a double. Austin Hedges grounded out to end the ballgame.
Even with four home runs to Minnesota’s one, the floundering Twins came away with a win to even the series at one apiece.
— — — Tidbits — — —
First inning home run party
The Indians have hit 16 first inning blasts, which has been their most productive inning for home runs this season.
Four or more is still the magic score
It’s been a trend the entire season with the Indians’ anemic offense sometimes not enough to keep up with other teams. Entering tonight’s game, Cleveland was 35–6 when scoring four or more runs and only 6–25 with three or fewer runs scored.
With yesterday’s 4–1 victory, the Cleveland Indians have yet to be swept all season with the team coming back to Cleveland after this weekend for a seven-game home stand. With a victory against the Detroit Tigers, the team could secure a sweep-free first three months of the season.
When will Plesac be back?
Among the injured Indians that would immediately give the team a shot in the arm and stability in the rotation is Zach Plesac. The young righty threw a 40-pitch bullpen session recently according to Terry Francona and could soon set out on a rehab assignment.