Twins win second straight over Cleveland
MINNEAPOLIS — Lance Lynn made this start harder on himself with five walks and one hit Cleveland batter.
The recently revived Minnesota lineup made it a lot easier.
Eddie Rosario hit a two-run homer and Brian Dozier drove in two runs to support Lynn’s third straight victory, leading the Twins past the Indians 7-1 on Saturday.
“They’re scoring runs and playing defense,” Lynn said. “It’s a lot of fun to play the game.”
In his first season with the Twins after waiting a month into spring training to sign a one-year $12 million contract, Lynn has looked miserable on the mound in much of his time with the new team. Part of that is his ultra-competitive nature, but he had an awful April and a couple of rough appearances in May, too. Over his last three starts, Lynn (4-4) has allowed only three runs over 18 2/3 innings to lower his ERA from 7.47 to 5.46.
“He gets pretty flustered out there at times whether it’s a play or a pitch or a non-call. He made some close pitches that didn’t go his way, but he just kept finding his way to grind through it,” manager Paul Molitor said, adding: “I just think he’s been trying to earn his weight around here as of late.”
The same goes for the Twins offense, with 30 runs over the last four games. Rosario has been the steadiest of all, with a team-leading 36 RBI headlining a strong case to become a first-time All-Star. Dozier, who hit an RBI triple in the third inning right before Rosario’s 10th homer of the season and added an RBI double during a four-run sixth, has heated up this weekend, too.
“We we can do a lot of different things with our legs and power when everyone is kind of going at least OK,” Dozier said. “I think we’re starting to see that.”
Indians starter Trevor Bauer (4-4) struck out 11 batters, but he gave up six hits and three walks and didn’t finish the sixth inning. Four of the seven runs charged to him were unearned, because of an error on second baseman Jason Kipnis and a passed ball by catcher Roberto Perez. Max Kepler and Ryan LaMarre had RBI singles during the Twins rally after the fielding flub by Kipnis.
“I was just out there trying to do everything I could to help my team win,” Bauer said.
The Indians went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and 2 for 16 with runners on base. Lynn struck out five and allowed only two hits while throwing a season-high 113 pitches.
Oliver Perez, who was signed to the roster before the game, was the second pitcher summoned from the MLB-worst bullpen by manager Terry Francona in the sixth, becoming the 15th reliever used by the Indians already this season. They used 17 different relief pitchers last year, including a one-inning mop-up appearance by position player Michael Martinez and a one-off relief outing by Bauer.
The 36-year-old Perez, who joined his eighth major league team, was pitching in Triple-A earlier this season for the New York Yankees affiliate. He struck out three and gave up one hit in 1 1/3 innings.
“There’s a lot to like,” Francona said. “We’ve seen him so much just because he’s been pitching for a long time, but his stuff is still there. As a matter of fact, it might be a tick or two above what it’s been.”
Greg Allen, who could be bound for Triple-A next week with the expected return of injured outfielders Lonnie Chisenhall and Brandon Guyer, gave the Indians the lead in the second inning with a delayed steal of home after Kipnis took off for second during a strikeout by Perez. That was the first time the Indians stole home since Francisco Lindor did so on June 28, 2016.
Allen played right field, while Bradley Zimmer was back in center field for the first time in 21 games after being out with a bruised left rib.
Indians: LHP Andrew Miller has been scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Sunday, Francona said before the game. He’s been out for the last eight games because of nagging right knee inflammation.
Twins: Catcher Mitch Garver paintfully took a foul ball off the top of his knee in the ninth inning but stayed in the game. “He just said that it takes a while for the feeling to return in the leg,” Molitor said.
Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger (4-2, 3.14 ERA) will start on Sunday afternoon. He was second in the American League, entering the game on Saturday, with a 1.61 ERA on the road among pitchers with more than one start.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (1-3, 3.57 ERA) will take the mound for the series finale. Gibson, who has a 5.82 ERA in 13 career starts against the Indians, has taken three losses and seven no-decisions since winning his first turn of the season.