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Game 23: Indians 5, Twins 4 (11 Innings)

Joe Mauer was out of the lineup with a bruised left heel; that made things easier for Indians starter Justin Masterson, who has been rocked by left-handed hitters so far this season. He gave up 10 hits on the night, but he stayed in the strikezone and was able to stay in the game into the eighth inning.

The Twins scored three runs in the first two innings, the first two off a first inning Jim Thome single. Denard Span homered in the second to made it 3-0 Twins, but that was all MInnesota would get off of Masterson until a Justin Morneau home run in the eighth. In the meantime, the Indians managed two runs off of fill-in starter Jeff Manship, one coming on a double play. Manship went six innings, giving up the two runs on 5 hits and a walk, and in particular shut down the top of the Indians lineup. 

After the Twins tacked on a run in the top of the eighth, the top three hitters in the Indians order all got hits with two outs, and tied the game. With a runner on second and Austin Kearns on deck, Matt Guerrier pitched to the left-handed Shin-Soo Choo, though for most of the at-bat it appeared he was pitching around him. With a full count, Choo looped a singled to right field to drive in the tying run.

Credit must be given to both Masterson and the Indians bullpen for holding the Twins largely in check after the first couple innings. Tony Sipp, Chris Perez, Aaron Laffey, and Jamey Wright finished the last 3.1 innings without giving up a run. In the tenth, Jamey Wright got out of jam for the most part created by Laffey by inducing a double play with the bases loaded and one out.

The Indians were close to winning the game in the tenth, but Lou Marson was gunned out at the plate on a Grady Sizemore single. During Sizemore's at-bat, the TV guys mentioned that it would be a good time for a pinch runner, but in reality the bench didn't have anyone appreciably faster than Marson. Denard Span's strong throw, not Marson's footspeed, were what made the play possible.

Finally, the Indians loaded the bases in the eleventh with nobody out. Mark Gruzielanek blooped a ball into short left field, but because the outfielders were playing in, the ball was caught. Lou Marson then struck out, and it looked like the Indians would blow a golden opportunity. But Asdrubal Cabrera picked up his teammates and won the game with a single to short right.





Highest WPA Lowest WPA
Shin-Soo Choo .250 Austin Kearns -.202
Jamey Wright .221 Mark Grudzielanek -.193
Asdrubal Cabrera .207 Travis Hafner -.087