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MLB Final Score/Recap: Pitching picks up awful defense as Indians rally late to win 3-1

This was a game that easily could have been a blowout victory for the Twins. The Indians committed four errors on the day, and there were several plays that should be considered errors. But the Tribe pitching staff picked up the defense, pitching around some very difficult jams, so Drew Stubbs' eighth-inning home run meant something.

Scott Kazmir
Scott Kazmir
Jason Miller

August 25, 2013

Indians 3, Twins 1

Scott Kazmir was pitching on six days' rest, two more than normal, and it looked like the extra rest was worth it. Kazmir was regularly throwing in the mid-90s, and his changeup was very effective (when he located it). He threw six innings, and if the defense had played better behind him, he probably would have gone at least another inning.

Some of the jams he worked out of:

  • Pedro Florimon hit a one-out double in the third inning, but Kazmir retired the next two batters.
  • Josh Willingham led off the fourth with a double. After Kazmir got Ryan Doumit to pop out to second base, Trevor Plouffe hit a sharp grounder behind Willingham. Cabrera threw to third, and Willingham got in a rundown. A couple throws into the rundown, Cabrera dropped the ball and couldn't make an accurate recovery. Now runners were at second and third with nobody out. But Kazmir got Wilkin Ramirez to hit a pop up to shallow right and struck out Chris Colabello to end the threat.
  • Clete Thomas led off the fifth with a single and was sacrificed to second. A Brian Dozier single pushed Thomas to third, and then Doug Bernier laid down a squeeze bunt, but Nick Swisher couldn't even get the out at first. Kazmir eventually got out of the inning when Trevor Plouffe lined out to Lonnie Chisenhall.
  • Yet again the Twins got the leadoff man on in the sixth when Wilkin Ramirez doubled down the left field line. But Kazmir retired the next three batters to keep the scored knotted at one.

And perhaps the biggest jam came after Kazmir left the game. In the seventh inning, the Twins got runners at first and third with nobody out after a walk, a wild pickoff throw, and another bunt single. But Cody Allen recovered, getting Josh Willingham to pop up and striking out both Ryan Doumit and Trevor Plouffe. The Indians committed one error and a play that should have been an error (Jason Kipnis tried to make a force play himself instead of flipping the ball to Asdrubal Cabrera), but Joe Smith again extricated the Indians from a self-inflicted jam.

All the while the Indians couldn't get the big hit themselves. They worked six walks from starter Mike Pelfrey, but only managed a third inning RBI single from Jason Kipnis. Pelfrey was done after five innings, and one of the best bullpens in the AL then went to work, shutting down the Indians until the bottom of the eighth. Jared Burton, perhaps the best pitcher in that excellent bullpen, pitched the eighth, retiring both Yan Gomes and Jason Giambi. But Drew Stubbs, who up to that point hadn't had an official at-bat, got a high fastball out over the plate and put a good swing on it. The warm late summer day a breeze blowing out helped get the ball over the fence, and the Indians somehow found themselves with a lead. A Michael Bourn hustle double and a Nick Swisher single gave the Indians an extra run to work with, but it wouldn't be needed, as Chris Perez pitched a scoreless ninth.

This was not a aesthetic work of art. Had the Twins gotten a big hit in 4-5 different circumstances, the game would have been much different. Had the Tribe pitchers not been as good, the game would have been much different. But today the Indians got lucky, and they took advantage of their luck, winning the series and entering an extremely difficult nine-game stretch just 1.5 games back of a playoff spot.

Source: FanGraphs

Roll Call (25 Commenters)

Game Thread (535 Comments)

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1 johnf34 60
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20 Joel D 7
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22 Nat 4
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24 kennesawmountainwahoo 1
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