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Middle of the order paces Cleveland Indians to 5-2 win over Minnesota Twins

Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli combined to score all 5 runs, with Jose Ramirez driving in two runs.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins
This ball would not stay in the ballpark.
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Indians 5, Twins 2

box score

Indians improve to 53-36

After their 14-game winning streak, the Indians lost 6 of their next 9 to finish the second half. That slump didn’t have too much of an effect on the standings, but even so, you can’t go on expecting your competition to falter along with you. Tonight the Indians got back on track by defeating the Twins in workmanlike fashion, and took the scoreboard watching out of the equation.

Carlos Carrasco started the games on both sides of the All-Star break, and this outing was much better than how he ended the first half. He allowed a run in the first inning as a result of a wild pitch that pushed runners to second and third (a sacrifice fly later drove home the run). In the fourth inning he left a fastball in Brian Dozier’s nitro zone (up and in), and the Twins second baseman jerked it out of the park. But that was all the damage Carrasco allowed; he went 6.2 innings allowing just four hits. He struck out an uncharacteristically low three batters, but made up for it with a lot of weak contact.

On offense, the Indians took advantage of a defensive miscue to take the lead. The mistake happened in the fourth inning; after a Francisco Lindor walk, Mike Napoli hit a slow chopper to third baseman Miguel Sano, who threw wildly, allowing Lindor to go to third. Jose Ramirez then lined a single down the left field line, plating Lindor, and Napoli later scored on a fielder’s choice. That run-scoring out should have been an easy double play, but Brian Dozier inexplicably looked home before making the shovel to second base, and that affected the timing of the play. Had Joe Mauer not made a diving catch on Yan Gomes’ liner, the Indians might have had an even larger inning.

The middle of the order once again came through in the sixth inning. Lindor singled with one out, then Mike Napoli lined a base hit into the hole between third and short. Jose Ramirez took an Ervin Santana pitch right back through the box, nicking Santana’s glove arm in the process. Lindor scored, and that was it for Santana. After Twins reliever Trevor May walked Lonnie Chisenhall, he uncorked a wild pitch that allowed a second run to score (I thought Kurt Suzuki was lax on getting in front the pitch). Gomes would once again hit the ball hard, but again right at a Twins fielder to end the inning.

The Indians would cap their scoring when Mike Napoli hit a fly ball that carried out of the park in the seventh inning, the very definition of a “big fly”. Napoli and Lindor combined to score all five of the Tribe’s runs tonight, and the 3-4-5 hitters (Lindor-Napoli-Ramirez) collected six of the Tribe’s hits.

The three-run lead was more than enough for the bullpen. Jeff Manship, Bryan Shaw, and Cody Allen threw a perfect 2.1 innings, and finished off the victory.

Yan Gomes finished the game hitless, but the results didn’t match his at-bats. Three of those at-bats ended with a ball hit right at a Twins fielder, and he was much more patient at the plate. Let’s hope this process carries over to the future games, for if he continues to put up at-bats like he had tonight, the hits will start falling.