Indians 3, Twins 6
Indians fall to 17-16
If Corey Kluber could just highlight his first two innings then CTRL+C and CTRL+V four more times he would have a game for the ages. Unfortunately, copy and paste is not a standard function in this Klubot O.S. and he had to just kind of wing it in the rest of the game. The results were not great.
Over those two innings, though, Kluber was near perfection. He lost the true no-hitter to Joe Mauer in the first at-bat of the game, but he looked great from outset. He had Minnesota Twins batters constantly off balance (as any reputable MLB pitcher should right now), his offspeed stuff was working well, and I am pretty sure he tricked Brian Dozer into swinging a ball he could not even see. Even when Kluber got into a little bit of trouble as early as the third inning -- when he walked Juan Centeno and Mauer recorded his second hit of the game -- he worked out of it without a sweat.
Kluber's first real challenge came in the fifth when Centeno hit a two-run home run, his first as a major-leaguer and just his fifth in his entire playing career. Rajai Davis compounded the issue in the sixth inning by slipping and missing a ball that would have been the second out of the inning. Instead, Trevor Plouffe was able to trot into first base on a single. Kluber never really recovered after that; he allowed Byung-Ho Park to hit a single, hit Dozer with a pitch, then Eddie Rosario hit a ball just hard enough to score Park from third.
The Tribe offense offered some resistance in the form of a Jose Ramirez single in the fourth and a Francisco Lindor RBI single in the eighth, and a way-too-late solo home run from Yan Gomes in the ninth. But far too often runners were unable to make it past first base, and far too often everyone failed to hit a home run or seven. The Cleveland Indians were 2-for-3 with runners in scoring position, but again, clutch hitting doesn't do any good when there is no one there to hit home.
Somewhat symbolically, the weather at Progressive Field went from generally ugly to downright awful when the Indians were batting in the eighth inning, but cleared right up when it was the Twins' turn in the ninth.
If there was one glowing spot in the game for the Tribe it was the same one it usually is -- Francisco Lindor. On top of his aforementioned RBI in the eighth, he also tallied another hit, one of only two Indians batters to have a multi-hit game. The other was Tyler Naquin, who got the start in center field while Rajai Davis shifted over to left field to cover for the injured Michael Brantley. Like most of Naquin's hits this season, both were singles that just barely squirted past defenders. I do not know what kind of blood sacrifice Tyler is making to the BABIP gods, but it must be something good. Keep your first born children and live goats away from him, just in case.
The first eight innings of this game felt weirdly as hopeless as yesterday, but this time around the Tribe was not able to mount a late comeback. Instead, they just got drenched and made us all sad. Here's a brief video recap of the bullpen in the final two frames for reference: