The Indians, thanks to Kansas City's performance in Texas, still have a one-game lead in the division. But that doesn't mean a whole lot this early in the season. What is important is performance and health. The team took a hit in both categories during their rain-shortened series in Minnesota.
Starter Carlos Carrasco made it through three innings and didn't come out for the fourth. He hadn't pitched well, giving up six hits and two walks to a lineup that had been struggling coming into the series, and had only gotten out of the third because of two outs at the plate, but conventional wisdom said that he'd be out for the fourth; the Indians had come back to take the lead, and even with his struggles, he had only given up two runs. So when Jeanmar Gomez started warming up, the possibilities for his departure weren't pleasant to think of. And after a couple innings, the dreaded announcement came from the clubhouse: Carrasco left the game due to "right elbow tightness". It's useless to speculate as to the severity of the injury, since that symptom could mean anything from no ligament damage to a ligament tear, but since all major elbow surgeries start with that rather innocuous diagnosis, you immediately think of the worst. But perhaps it will be nothing.
Because of the rainout on Friday and the off day tomorrow, the Indians were able to bring in Jeanmar Gomez without having to shuffle their next four starters. Gomez missed his turn in the rotation, and would have gone eleven days between starts. But even though the logistics seemed to work out, Gomez still had a difficult situation to come into, since he hadn't expected to pitch. LGFT Jim Thome greeted him with a double, but Gomez pitched around it to finish the fourth. He allowed a walk and a hit in the fifth, but also got out it. He started the seventh inning, and was pulled after allowing a leadoff single. The Indians probably could have managed without Gomez coming in, as there's on off-day on Monday, but it was important to give Gomez at least some innings in preparation for his next start.
The bullpen and the defense were two of the major factors in the Indians' hot start, but both failed them after Gomez left. Orlando Cabrera ranged to his right to field a Denard Span grounder, but booted what should have been an easy out. With runners now on first and second and nobody out, Twins outfielder Jason Repko sacrificed both runners over a base. Rafael Perez now had to face Jason Kubel, a hot hitter, but a hitter Perez is expected to get out. He didn't; Kubel pulled a double to right, scoring two, and the Twins took a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
The Indians for a couple minutes had a 4-2 lead after Michael Brantley hit what was ruled a three-run homer in the top of the fourth. The umpires reversed the call however, and the inning ended with Brantley on base. The Indians would threaten in the eighth and ninth innings, but left the tying run on second base.
Next Up: The results of Carrasco's MRI, and another series with the Royals starting on Tuesday.