Indians fall to 53-37
A frustrating game all around, this one had the makings of either a fantastical finish or a demoralizing defeat. Either way, the Tribe is just happy to get out of this one with no one injured and they live to play another game.
The game started well enough as the Indians got an early 1-0 lead in the first thanks to some Tyler Duffey inefficiency; he gave up a single to Santana and walked Kipnis and Napoli to load the basis. Jose Ramirez, who came into the game hitting .394 with runners in scoring position (good for 3rd best in the American League), hit a scorching line drive to center field that was caught, but it was deep enough to score Santana from 3B. I'm not sure what's gotten into Ramirez this season, but I hope he continues doing it for years and years to come.
On the pitching side of things, Bauer had flashes of brilliance and flashes of his earlier struggles all wrapped up in the same game. A positive takeaway would be his curveball; it was absolutely devastating. It was sitting all game in the low to mid-70s and fooled a good amount of the Twins' hitters, particularly Miguel Sano who struck out looking in the bottom of the third. But, despite having his curveball working well, Bauer was in a lot of trouble early with the Twins' hitters. The bad omens showed up in the second inning; while he didn't give up any runs, Bauer gave up a lot of loud outs that may have been home runs on different nights. Additionally, in the third and fourth inning, Bauer pulled off his best Houdini impersonation in order to minimize the damage. In the third, the Twins had the bases loaded and nobody out. In the fourth, the Twins had runners and second and third and nobody out. Combined, the Twins could only muster enough offense to get 1 run in those two innings, thanks to some solid defense from Jason Kipnis and some good pitching.
The Tribe got some breathing room in the fifth inning thanks to a sac bunt by Chris Gimenez to move Tyler Naquin and Juan Uribe into scoring position with only one out. Carlos Santana stepped to the plate, and he launched a bullet down the right field line to score both Uribe and Naquin, giving the Indians a 3-1 lead. That lead would be cut to 1 in the sixth thanks to a 2-out, RBI double by Juan Centeno to score Eddie Rosario from first base. Thankfully, for the Indians, Jason Kipnis answered right back in the next half inning with an RBI single over the leaping attempt of Eduardo Nunez to bring the lead to 4-2.
Things got frustrating in the bottom half of the inning. Bauer came back out despite being at 100+ pitches, and it was pretty clear that he should have been done after 6. Nunez got an infield single on a booted ball by Santana, and Joe Mauer walked to put runners on 1st and 2nd with nobody out. At this point, Tito pulled Bauer and replaced him with Jeff Manship. Manship induced a ground ball to the right side, and again, Santana misplayed the ball; this time, the Twins broke through and scored their third run of the game. Manship got Dozier in an 0-2 count, but Dozier turned on the next pitch for a single to center field, tying the game. Tito made another trot to the mound and brought in Dan Otero, who got the next three batters out to end the inning. But the damage was done, and the game would remain tied through regulation and into a rain delay in the eleventh inning.
When the rain delay hit, it looked like it would last for hours, and it did. I'm not sure of the exact duration of the rain delay, but it was a big enough chunk of time that reliever Michael Tonkin would not finish the eleventh inning. Instead, RHP Trevor May came in and threw two pitches to Yan Gomes in order to retire the side after the tarp came off the field.
Call it exhaustion, call it bad luck, call it mental errors, doesn't matter. Joseph Colon came in the bottom of the inning to try and keep the game going past the eleventh inning, but it was not to be. After a Joe Mauer walk and a Brian Dozier double, Colon intentionally loaded to the bases to get to...Max Kepler. Based on tonight's game alone, I have a newfound disdain for Mr. Kepler. On the final play of the game, Kepler hit a ground ball up the middle that deflected off of Colon's glove. Colon was able to recover in time and he made a good throw to the plate to get the force at home; unfortunately, Gomes' woes transferred to the field as he botched the catch, allowing Joe Mauer to score. Boom, game over.
Tomorrow, the Cleveland Indians look to nab a series victory against the Twins as they face off against RHP Kyle Gibson. Josh Tomlin gets the start for the Tribe at 2:10 PM ET, so get some rest and we'll do it all again tomorrow. If I can wake up.