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Twins walk off Cleveland Indians again

They scratched and clawed to stay in it, but the pitching could never lock down long enough to bring home the win.

This actually wasn't a bad play, but it was a bad pitch.
This actually wasn't a bad play, but it was a bad pitch.
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Twins 6, Indians 5

Box Score

Indians fall to 9-9

--

To be frank, the Indians really didn't have much business making it this close. All night Tribe pitching, namely Cody Anderson, left the ball up and in the middle of the plate and, all night, Twins hitters made solid contact. If the opponent had the slightest bit more punch on offense, or wasn't managed by Paul Molitor, they might have very well put up double digits. That isn't to take anything away from the Minnesota Twins, it's just to be honest about performance turned in by Tribe pitching.

To detail the back and forth of the game in the span of a single, readable recap would not be advised. The Indians scored their 5 runs in 4 different innings and the Twins bested them with 6 separate single digit run innings. There was no drastic shift in power and there was no clear upper hand for 9 innings, but everything kept moving the Twins way. At least until Cody Allen failed to erase a single batter in the 9th (Yan Gomes erased a runner for him) and Miguel Sano knocked home the winning run for the Twins.

We would never have made it to the bottom of the 9th had it not been for a mammoth blast off the bat of Mike Napoli in the top of the 9th with 2 down, the kind of stuff little leaguers dream of.  All told, 3 of the Tribe's 5 runs came off solo shots. Besides Napoli's game-extender, Jason Kipnis gave the Indians an early lead with a solo shot in the 1st and Juan Uribe tied the game back up with one of his own in the 3rd. The Indians also picked up 2 runs in the 6th on some sound fundamentals at the plate. Tyler Naquin singled followed by a Carlos Santana double the other way. Kipnis and Francisco Lindor followed those hits with two nice sacrifice flies to round out the Tribe scoring. Five runs will usually get you the win and is certainly nothing to complain about when you only muster 6 hits. Yes, 6. With no walks. The Indians left exactly 1 runner on base. It may not have been a stellar offensive performance, but it certainly was making the most of your opportunities.

The undoing of the Tribe started in the 1st inning with Anderson's inability to locate and keep the ball down. The Twins hitters hit the ball hard and hit it often, but they could rarely piece together more than 2 or 3 at a time, though they routinely did just that. Twins batter would manage 5 doubles and a solo shot, throughout their 9 innings, always keeping the Tribe on their heels. When Cody Allen gave up 3 consecutive hits to end the game, it almost felt like a relief, like watching the teetering tower finally crumble. Yan Gomes nailing a stealing Danny Santana was only delaying the inevitable. The result was the same as the day before, just 1 inning shorter.

Two Takeaways

I'm making this up as I go, since I may not write another recap this year. Don't cry, we'll manage. But takeaway number one is Cody Anderson. The pitcher we saw at the end of 2015 hasn't shown up, for better or worse. Mostly worse. He's throwing harder, he truly, honestly looks like he might be in The Best Shape of His Life(TM), but he's extremely hittable. He strung together a few good sequences between the 3rd and the 4th where it looked like he had finally found a groove, only to be undone again in the 4th, 5th and ultimately in the 6th off the bat of Eddie Rosario, of all hitters.

The second point is that Paul Molitor managed a terrible game. I'm not just saying this because I've basically loathed him since he blew up on Angry Hamster's batflip, I'm saying this because he nearly lost the game for his team. In the bottom of the 1st he challenged a play at the 2nd base where Brian Dozier was clearly out, only to lose his challenge for the rest of the game. Of course, that came back to bite him in the 5th on a very weird play, again involving Dozier. With Dozier batter and Santana at 1st, he was running on the pitch and the ball was blooped out toward Lonnie Chisenhall who nearly made a fantastic diving catch. Since it looked like he would make that catch, Santana retreated then tried to reverse course and hustle all the way to 3rd, where Lonnie's throw would get him, so said the umpire. If Molitor had his review, the play likely would have been overturned putting runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. Instead, it was a runner on 2nd with 1 out. That runner would score the only run of the inning, but it would have been at least 2 runs that inning, possibly more, had Molitor not challenged an obviously correct call to start the game.

Something Positive

It wasn't a great night for me, so let's just enjoy this.


Source: FanGraphs

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