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Cleveland Indians avoid a blowout with late rally, but ultimately fall to Minnesota Twins

It's not over 'till it's over, then it's over.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Indians 4, Twins 7

box score

Indians fall to 10-19

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Prior to tonight's game, Fox Sports Ohio sideline reporter Andre Knott said that starting pitcher Bruce Chen was "chipper" and shaking hands with everyone in the clubhouse earlier in the day. Like any journeyman player hoping to make a potential comeback, he just seemed excited to be a part of it all once again. Sadly for Chen, and for fans that had to watch him pitch, most of the chipperness was likely gone when he was pulled from the game in the 5th inning with 4 runs already allowed and the bases loaded.

Things didn't start too badly for Chen, all things considered. He pitched right into the teeth of a red hot Twins team including a Torii Hunter who continues to absolutely dominate the Indians. While he did give up a solo homer to Hunter in that first, he managed to strand the other two batters he gave up for hits by getting Eduardo Escobar to ground into a double play to end the inning.

From there things went from bad to worse. After a solid 1-2-3 second inning, the bats of the Twins began to take advantage Chen, whose pitch count was already inflated by the 3rd inning. Hunter's second hit of the game landed him at first base where he was eventually hit home by Escobar. Also hitting runs home in the 3rd frame were Kennys Vargas and Eddie Rosario.

Chen isn't the only reason the Indians took such a hammering from the Twins of course. The offense, at least through the first 5 innings, was a total black hole. Prior to the 6th frame - when the Indians were already down 6 to 2 - Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn were the only Indians players to manage to get hits. In fact, if we want to try and find one silver lining out of this sad afternoon, it would be that Swisher finished the day with 4  hits in 4 at bats, including his first extra base hit of the year on a double that came in the 7th.

The rest of the offense did manage to surge alive in that 7th inning, which was fun to watch. Swisher's double was followed by a double from Michael Bourn (who also had an encouraging game), then the real fun came. David Murphy - pinch hitting for Roberto Perez - hit a towering home run off Phil Hughes to bring Bourn home and bring the game to within reach. After Zach Walters made his 2015 debut and promptly struck out, Kipnis made it on base, followed by Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley, and eventually Brandon Moss with a great at-bat that resulted in a walk and Brian Duensing being replaced with Aaron Thompson.

At that point the game was finally in reach. Down by three with the bases loaded and the crowd on its feet, Chisenhall had the chance to be a hero... And he immediately popped out to center. Seeing Chisenhall go down so fast after seeing Moss battling for so many pitches was almost startling, and the effects of the quick out carried over into the final two innings where the Tribe was once again blanked until the game mercifully came to a close with a pop up from a pinch-hitting Ryan Raburn.

All told, considering just how poorly the game started, the offense came out not looking too bad. Other than Chisenhall's debacle, the rest of the offense looked downright competent after they finally got to Phil Hughes in the 6th inning as well as the Twin's bullpen beyond that. They managed to pile up 13 hits when all was said and done but in the end they just couldn't hit enough of them home.

Even the maligned bullpen managed to hold it together and keep the game in reach. The only reliever to give up a run once Chen left the game was Ryan Webb, and that was a solo home run given up to Brian Dozier in the 6th.

Defense was certainly an issue once again as it's always been this year, punctuated by an error on a seemingly-routine ground ball go through the legs of Jose Ramirez. It's hard to tell if it was truly a mistake on his part, or just effort that ended up looking silly, but Ramirez diving and flailing on the ground before wildly throwing a high-arching ball to the pitcher's mound from a seated position was comical to watch.

Even though it was ultimately a loss (and there are no such things as moral victories), it sure was nice seeing the team fight until the final out for a change instead of rolling over when the opponent's run started piling up. Now if we could only skip that opponents run piling up part and get right to the fighting.

Win Expectancy Chart


Source: FanGraphs

Roll Call

GameThread

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