Game 144: Indians 8, Twins 2
Tribe climbs to 75-69
Frequently you hear announcers talk about how an offense needs to jump on a good starting pitcher early, because once they settle in it's all over. That was easily the theme for today. The Twins managed to scratch out a run in the 1st inning off Corey Kluber after a leadoff double. After that, it was all Corey Kluber. He would go on to allow only 3 more hits while striking out 6 more (7 on the day) and not walking a single batter, before reaching the 9th.
After the 1st, Kluber was as dominate as we've come to expect him to be. He was nearing 100 pitches after the 8th, but Francona elected to let him try and close it out. It would work out as he gave up 3 singles and a run before Kyle Crockett closed out the victory for the Tribe. Letting him try to finish the 9th, while up 8-1 at the time, might have sullied his pitching line a little but it did nothing to erase the beauty of his work in innings 2-8. If Trevor Bauer could limit his 1st inning woes to what Kluber had today, then look out world!
If you're anything like me, your heart might have sunk a little bit going down 1-0 to the Twins after the top of the 1st. Two quick outs to lead off the Indians half didn't make matters much better. But then something miraculous happened! Michael Brantley drew a 4 pitch walk and Twins starter Kyle Gibson fell behind Carlos Santana 2-0, then promptly served up a meatball which Carlos punished off the facing of the mezzanine section in right field. That put the Tribe up 2-1 and they never looked back.
Yan Gomes got in on the action in the next inning with a leadoff solo HR of his own. But it was the 3rd inning that broke it open. In something a bit unheard of around these parts, the Indians leadoff with 3 straight singles from Bourn, Ramirez and Brantley to take a 4-1 lead. But they weren't ready to stop as the loaded the bases up for Yan Gomes who drove a ball of the wall in left to drive in Ramirez and Brantley. Chisenhall added a sacrifice fly for good measure, making the score 7-1. The Indians would finally cap their scoring in the 6th with Brantley driving in Michael Bourn on another RBI single.
The home runs marked the 26th and 18th for Santana and Gomes respectively. Carlos' monster shot measured in at 442 feet according to the STO crew, but I haven't seen a ball hit that far to right in Cleveland in some time. He just missed hitting another out when he led off the 5th. Either way, it was nice to see the offense come to life against a pitcher who was struggling. Kyle Gibson was having trouble with his command, forcing him to throw hittable pitches and they made him pay. Despite exiting after the 3rd inning, the Twins only used three relievers so their pen isn't as exposed as we might like.
T.J. House will take the ball in Game 2 as the Indians try to take the series and keep pushing forward. But, while we wait, check out that beautiful graph below!
Win Expectancy Chart:
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