Indians improve to 51-59
It's all happening for the Tribe right now. Corey Kluber missed a Maddux by one out, Chris Johnson went 4-for-4 and Babe-raham Almonte smashed another homer as the Tribe crushed the hapless Twins.
Corey Kluber started the game in metronomic fashion: 8 pitches and 1 SO in the 1st; 12 pitches and 1 SO in the 2nd; and 10 pitches and 1 SO in the 3rd. He finally gave up a walk in the 4th, but after inducing a GIDP by Joe Mauer, Kluber had faced the minimum after four innings, with four strikeouts on just 42 pitches. Evidently galvanized by that walk, he then struck out Sano and Plouffe in three pitches a piece in a seven(!)-pitch 5th. The 6th was another 12-pitch 1 SO cruise and he was still at just 61 pitches, well on track for a Maddux (and a no-hitter, of course).
Unfortunately, Kluber's no-hitter bid was foiled by a Joe Mauer single with two outs in the 7th, but an eighth strikeout left the Maddux in play after just 75 pitches through 7 IP. After Kluber's ninth strikeout in the 8th, Chris Johnson made a superb play at 1B to tag out Escobar and the Maddux bid was at 82 pitches thru eight innings.
And so it was down to the 9th. Abraham Almonte made a terrific catch at the wall for the first out, but Shane Robinson then doubled to almost the same place, and after a 10th strikeout, Aaron Hicks doubled home a run and the Maddux was over, just one out short.
Offensively, the Tribe pretty much started where they finished off yesterday. Carlos Santana just missed a two-out, two-run homer in the 1st, but after his blast cannoned off the top part of the wall, it still enabled Francisco Lindor to score the first run of the game.
The Tribe then extended its lead in the 2nd when after a Jerry Sands single and "new guy" Chris Johnson double, Jose Ramirez blooped one into short left field enabling them both to score before he erased himself by over-running 1st base for no logical reason whatsoever.
The third was another amazing inning for the Tribe. After Phil Hughes allowed a rare walk to leadoff hitter Lindor, Michael Brantley doubled yet again (and now leads the AL in doubles, with 33) before Santana scored Lindor on a sac fly. Yan Gomes then doubled home Brantley to make it 5-0, before Abraham Almonte blasted yet another first pitch for a two-run homer to make it 7-0.
Not surprisingly, the Twins replaced Phil Hughes at the start of the 4th, and Brian Duensing actually did a decent job in at least stopping the bleeding in the next two innings before being replaced by Casey Fien for the 6th. However, Johnson then led off with his third hit (and second double) of the afternoon and after a Ramirez single, the Tribe was rolling again with runners on the corners and only one out. Lindor then scored Johnson on a sac fly and it was 8-0.
That was it for the scoring, but there was still time for Chris Johnson to crown his (starting) debut with a broken bat single to LF, bringing his tally to two singles and two doubles in four ABs.
Tomorrow is a day off, before the Yankees arrive for what should be an exciting three-game series, while next weekend the Tribe heads off to Minnesota for a rematch.
Win Expectancy Chart
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