Tribe looks to continue mastery of Minnesota Twins
A long rain delay pushed back the start of the Cleveland Indians’ home opener, but it didn’t disrupt their recent mastery of the Minnesota Twins.
They’ll look for their eighth straight victory against the Twins on Saturday.
After scoring three in the ninth to rally for a 6-4 win in Wednesday’s finale of a doubleheader in Oakland, Cleveland came alive again late in Friday’s 7-2 victory over Minnesota. The Indians (3-1) trailed 2-0 entering the bottom of the sixth, which Yan Gomes opened with a solo home run. Nick Swisher followed three batters later with a two-run homer, then delivered an RBI double during Cleveland’s four-run seventh.
"I was just so proud of the way the guys fought, man," Swisher said. "Maybe that will be the identity of this team – the fact that we’re gonna fight. And regardless of the situation or the obstacle in front of us, we’re always gonna take that head-on."
The Indians managed the late rally with little help from Jason Kipnis, who was 0 for 3 with a walk after agreeing to a six-year deal worth $52.5 million earlier in the day. Kipnis had hit safely in 19 of his previous 22 contests against Minnesota.
Cleveland’s bullpen also continued its dominant start with 3 1-3 scoreless innings. Indians relievers have allowed just one earned run while striking out 18 in 15 innings thus far.
Manager Ron Gardenhire will have to wait at least until Saturday to record his 1,000th career victory after the Twins (1-3) yielded 10-plus hits for the fourth straight game. Minnesota has received one quality start thus far with Mike Pelfrey failing to make it through Friday’s sixth inning.
The Twins might not fare much better if Kyle Gibson (2-4, 6.53 ERA) can’t improve from his rookie season. He failed to throw six innings in any of his final five starts, surrendering five homers in 22 2-3 innings.
The right-hander gave up three runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-8 loss to Cleveland on Aug. 14.
Minnesota was 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position after going 11 for 34 through the first three contests, but Chris Colabello continues to impress. The 30-year-old outfielder, who hit .194 in 55 games last season, hit his first homer Friday after driving in six runs Thursday. He’s 6 for 14 with three doubles.
Colabello will hope to continue that success against Carlos Carrasco (1-4, 6.75), who is back in the rotation after spending the final six weeks of 2013 in the bullpen.
Carrasco had a 9.00 ERA in seven starts last season but a 1.32 ERA in eight relief appearances.
"He was definitely more aggressive when he came out of the bullpen," manager Terry Francona told the team’s website regarding Carrasco, who is 1-2 with a 3.21 ERA in six career starts against the Twins. "If he takes that to the starting mentality – not taking pitches off, or relaxing – yeah, definitely it could help."
Carlos Santana was 1 for 2 with two walks Friday and owns a .463 on-base percentage with nine RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak versus Minnesota.