Indians 3, Twins 1
The Cleveland Indians looked like anything but a playoff
contender for most of Sunday’s game against Minnesota.
The Indians committed four errors and made several other
mistakes, both in the field and on the bases. In other words, they
did just about everything a team could do to lose.
As has been the case several times this season, however, manager
Terry Francona’s team defied the odds. Drew Stubbs hit a
tiebreaking, two-out homer in the eighth inning and the Indians
overcame themselves for a 3-1 victory.
”We were trying every way we could to give it away,” Stubbs
said. ”We played a very sloppy game, but it says a lot about this
team that we were able to hang in there and pull out the win.”
Second baseman Jason Kipnis, who had one of the errors and drove
in a run, had a similar point of view.
”When you try to lose and still win the game, that’s pretty
impressive,” he said.
The win moved Cleveland to within 1 1/2 games of Oakland for the
AL’s second wild-card spot as the Indians start a crucial road trip
to Atlanta and Detroit that begins Tuesday.
”It wasn’t pretty, but it’s a heck of a lot better when you
win,” Francona said. ”We know we can’t play like that, but we won
and that’s what we came to do.”
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire struggled to come up with a reason
for why his team lost.
”I don’t know who was supposed to win the game,” he said. ”I
know they won it with a couple of hits, but I don’t know who was
supposed to win. Sounds like we were. You make four errors, you’re
not supposed to win.”
Stubbs homered to dead center on a 0-1 pitch from Jared Burton
(2-7) to snap a 1-all tie and lift the Indians to their fifth win
in six games. Joe Smith (5-1) pitched a scoreless eighth and Chris
Perez worked the ninth for his 21st save.
Stubbs is making a habit of late-game saves. His two-run homer
in the 14th inning on Wednesday was the key blow in a 4-1 win.
”It’s just the way it goes sometimes,” he said. ”There’s no
real explanation for it.”
Burton retired the first two hitters in the eighth before Stubbs
hit his ninth home run of the season to the deepest part of the
ballpark. Michael Bourn turned his routine hit to center by
hustling into second for a double and scored on Nick Swisher’s
Pitchers Scott Kazmir and Cody Allen and shortstop Asdrubal
Cabrera had throwing errors while Kipnis dropped a soft line drive.
The Twins failed to take advantage of the Indians’ generosity.
Minnesota stranded 13 runners and was 3 for 19 with runners in
”That’s been our Achilles’ heel,” Gardenhire said. ”We’ve
left a lot of men out there and runners in scoring position hasn’t
been a very good stat for us this year. We’ve been terrible.”
Neither starter was involved in the decision. Kazmir allowed one
run and struck out eight in six innings while Mike Pelfrey walked
six in five innings, but held Cleveland to one run and two
The Indians, who stranded 12 baserunners, took a 1-0 lead in the
third on Kipnis’ RBI single.
Cleveland’s shoddy defense helped Minnesota tie the game in the
fifth. Clete Thomas led off with a single, took second on a
sacrifice and moved to third on Brian Dozier’s single. Thomas
scored when Doug Bernier pushed a bunt to the right side of the
mound. Swisher fielded the ball, but no one covered first and
Bernier reached with a single.
Josh Willingham struck out, but Ryan Doumit walked to load the
bases. The inning finally ended when Trevor Plouffe lined out to
third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall.
A double and Cabrera’s bad throw put runners at second and third
with one out in the Twins’ fourth, but Kazmir worked out of the
jam. Wilkin Ramirez flied out to shallow right field and Chris
Colabello struck out.
The Twins played the final game of a stretch that saw them play
27 games in 27 days.
NOTES: Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said that
All-Star C Joe Mauer (concussion) is resting at home and is
expected to return to Target Field on Tuesday when the team begins
a brief three-game homestand against Kansas City. Mauer is on the
seven-day concussion list, but it’s likely he won’t be activated
until the end of the week at the earliest. … Morneau wasn’t in
the lineup against Kazmir. He pinch-hit in the eighth and reached
on Kipnis’ error. … RHP Josh Tomlin, who is attempting to come
back from Tommy John surgery, was activated from the 60-day
disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Columbus. He is expected to
rejoin the Indians when rosters are expanded in September.