June 23, 2013
This time the Indians ended up on the short end of a close game. They came into play one of baseball's best teams in one-run games, but two late runs given up by the bullpen proved the difference today.
Carlos Carrasco made today's start, his second after returning from a seven-game suspension. In his first start, he completely dominated the Royals, owners of one of the league's worst offenses. Today's start offered him a somewhat sterner test, and he struggled with it, not even getting through five innings. Today's strike zone wasn't generous to pitchers, but not extremely tight, and Carrasco made just about every plate appearance a difficult task. While last time out, Carrasco seemed to be spotting pitches where he wanted them to go, today spots were a 50-50 proposition. Still, through four innings he had only allowed one run, but he just couldn't get out of the fifth. With two outs and runners on first and second, Oswaldo Arcia (who killed the Indians all series) lined a single into center field, scoring a run on pushing the runner on first (Joe Mauer) to third. Then Trevor Plouffe ended Carrasco's afternoon with a grounder that got past Mark Reynolds.
The Twins had to scratch scheduled starter Mike Pelfry with back spasms, and recalled Pedro Hernandez from AAA to make today's start. Although he also struggled with the strike zone and was down after five innings, he kept the Twins in the game. In the bottom of the second he loaded the bases with nobody out all thanks to walks, and although the Indians did score a run, that's all they got out of the inning. So unlike what happened last night, the Indians couldn't break the game open, and spent most of the rest of the game trying to play catchup.
The Twins scored a key insurance run in the seventh after the first two Minnesota batters reached via base hits off Nick Hagadone. Matt Albers would allow an RBI hit to Josh Willingham, but even though he got out of the inning without allowing any further damage, that fourth run would be all the Twins needed. They tacked on another run in the ninth on a two-out RBI double by Oswaldo Arcia.
The Indians would bring the tying run to the plate twice in the ninth inning off Twins closer Glen Perkins, with the best opportunity coming when Michael Bourn led off the inning with a single, but Mike Aviles' double play sucked the wind out of that rally. Jason Kipnis then hit a two-out double, but he would be left on base, as Nick Swisher grounded out to end the game.
The Indians almost reversed their 2-7 road trip, going 6-3 on this homestand. They won each of their three series, and now go back out on the road for 11 games.
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