Indians 6, Twins 3
Tribe improves to 75-76
The Indians have played from behind more often than they've played from ahead this season. Jason Kipnis didn't waste any time Thursday night before giving his team an early lead though, opening the game up with a home run just over the wall in left. Jose Ramirez drew a walk, Francisco Lindor drew a walk, and three batters later Lonnie Chisenhall knocked them both in with a single, putting the Tribe ahead 3-0 before they took the field for the first time.
Ramirez and Lindor both reached again in the 3rd, and then Carlos Santana smashed his team-leading 18th home run of the season, making it a 6-0 game. The Indians wouldn't score again, but they wouldn't need to, because Cody Anderson pitched a good one.
Things didn't start off especially well for Anderson, after a double and single put runners on the corners with no outs in the 1st. He got Joe Mauer to hit a fly ball to center field though, and Abraham Almonte made a nice throw home to nail the lead runner for an 8-2 double play. Credit to Abraham for positioning himself well, but Yan Gomes did an even better job of catching the throw in the perfect position to get the out, with his glove practically on the runner as the ball arrived. Anderson got out of the inning without any runs scoring, then cruised through the next five innings with onlt one runner reaching second base.
Anderson allowed a solo home run in the 7th (to Torii Hunter... yuck), and was lifted after giving up a couple singles with two outs. Bryan Shaw came in to record the final out of the 7th, and Anderson's final line for the night was one run on ten hits, with four strikeouts and no walks. He continues to allow a fair number of hits and strike out not all that many, but he also continues to avoid allowing many runs. Shaw gave up a home run of his own in the 8th, making it a 6-3 game, but Cody Allen pitched a one-two-three 9th inning for his 32nd save of the season, as the Indians avoided being swept and pulled back within 4 games of the second Wild Card spot, which matters if you're somehow still holding out hope that they might somehow make the postseason.
Also worth mentioning: Francisco Lindor tripled in the 4th inning, and had three hits on the night. His batting line is now a very impressive .321/.357/.486. Carlos Correa, Lindor's main competition for American League Rookie of the Year, has a line of .278/.346/.504, so the two players are now pretty close to a dead heat with the bat this season. Meanwhile, Lindor is a much better shortstop. All of which is to say, Lindor ought to be Rookie of the Year, and it'll be a shame if voters overlook that.
The Indians will head to Kansas City for the weekend. The Royals clinched the division crown tonight, which means they might trot out something of a B-lineup Friday night. On the other hand, they're only two games ahead of Toronto for the Al's best record (and homefield advantage), so don't expect them to roll over all weekend or anything like that. Knocking KC out of the AL's catbird seat would be pretty fun though, and would have to involve at least getting back to .500 by the end of the weekend, so let's hope for that.
Win Expectancy Chart