Game 125: Indians 5, Twins 0
Tribe improves to 64-61
Coming off an unlikely come-from-behind victory and with Corey Kluber getting the start on Thursday, today's game was the pivotal matchup in this series. With T.J. House on the mound you can never be too sure what you're going to get, but tonight House was solid over five and a third shutout innings. A strong offensive performance and steady relief, combined with House's performance, made for a satisfying all-around victory. It's the Twins, yeah, but it was still nice to see.
House didn't exactly dominate, but he did enough to work himself out of jams when he needed to and keep the Twins from crossing the plate. After a single, stolen base, and a walk in the Twins' 1st, House induced a double play grounded to escape trouble. The Indians jumped out to a quick lead in the 2nd thanks to a Zach Walters homer - his third since becoming an Indian. It would stay 1-0 in favor of the Tribe until the 4th inning.
Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis led off the 4th with back-to-back doubles, putting the Indians up 2-0. Kip would advance on a wild pitch and come around to score on a Mike Aviles single later in the inning to put the Indians up 3-0. T.J. worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the 4th before struggling a bit in the 5th. Fortunately, Ron Gardenhire is an idiot, and donated a free out after Eric Fryer led off the inning with a walk. Despite walking another batter in the inning, House was able to work out of it unscathed. House came out for the 6th, and Mike Aviles rewarded his hard work thus far by allowing the leadoff batter to reach on an error. Even shoddy defense couldn't spoil the night for Tribe pitching, though. House retired the next batter - his last - and he'd leave having struck out five, walked three, and scattered just four hits. You couldn't have asked for more from T.J. and if you had, you'd have been laughed out of town.
Indians offense didn't quit, adding a couple of insurance runs thanks to a Michael Bourn RBI single in the 7th and a solo homer from a sad, redemption-seeking Mike Aviles in the 9th. The Tribe pen combined for 4 and 2/3 shoutout inning, making that 17 scoreless innings in a row for Indians pitching. Elder Tribesman Scott Atchison worked a nice 1-2-3 inning and Brian Shaw - whose arm hasn't quite fallen off yet - came in for the four-out non-save to bury the Twins.
Pardon me if the writeup sounds a bit dull, but it was sort of a dull game. This time, though, it was the good kind of dull. The kind of dull that puts the Indians three games over .500. The kind of dull that puts us just 4.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot thanks to Seattle's loss tonight. The kind of dull that makes you think, yeah, this is how playoff teams look down the stretch. I could use a bit more of this kind of dull in my life.
Win Expectancy Chart:
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