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Cleveland Indians defeat Minnesota Twins in deadball era reenactment

Neither team seemed willing to win the game until Jason Kipnis forced the issue with a walk-off single

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Indians 1, Minnesota Twins 0

Box Score

Indians stumble forth to 74-56


Tonight's recap in a gif:

And now, your regularly scheduled recap:

Consider the Mexican Standoff: two gunslingers stand in the center of town glaring at each other, waiting for their foe to flinch, neither wanting to kill the other out of mutual respect but unable to let the other walk away, a twitch of the eye enough to send hands flinging to the holster. Only one man can live after this moment passes.

Now imagine this, except that both gunslingers desperately want to die. This is what tonight's baseball game between the Indians and Twins felt like. After nine and a half scoreless frames Jason Kipnis sighed, walked across the road, and pressed the barrel of his gun to the Twins' head.

"Are you sure?"

"Please," whispered the Twins.

Kipnis pulled the trigger with a single to left field, scoring Chris Gimenez. Thusly, a game that seemed to come from the same offensive baseball era as an actual Mexican standoff came to a close.

This capped an strange bottom of the 10th overall. Abraham Almonte reached on a drag bunt to lead off the inning. After a series of games in which Almonte choked while taking huge cuts, there's something poetic about his small-ball effort. With the score tied and Chris Gimenez batting, Tito called for the sac bunt. Gimenez screwed it up. Twice. Probably realizing he'd be dead before he made it back to the dugout if he made an out, the catcher roped the next pitch to right. Why keep it simple and bunt when you can throw an entire fanbase into convulsions?

Rajai Davis followed up with a ten pitch at-bat that ended in a weak grounder to third. Miguel Sano fielded it and swiped at Almonte, then threw to first. Davis beat out the throw, but the field ump ruled that Sano did apply the tag. The play went to New York as the most inconclusive replays i've ever seen played. I'm not sure that Sano ever touched Almonte, but the play stood as called on the field.


Two pitches later, Kipnis ended the entire ordeal. It's worth pointing out that the Twins' closer, Brandon Kintzler, has thrown in three different innings at that point. Exiting then entering a game twice in a scoreless tie must be disorienting for a guy who is used to a single inning of work: three simple outs with the lead.

On the flip side, the Indians recieved three innings of work and sixty pitches from their closing/high-leverage/fireman duo of Cody Allen and Andrew Miller. Tito pushed them both, but Allen especially teetered on the brink of disaster in the top of the 10th. He walked Joe Mauer, coughed up a single to Trevor Plouffe, then issued a nine-pitch walk to Sano. A klaxon must have blared in Tito's head at this point: Allen sat at 37 pitches after facing nine batters, the most he's faced in an outing since 2013.

Tito then sent Zach McAllister to face Maximilian Kepler-Rozycki. In the movie, Kepler hits the ball over the scoreboard and seals his destiny as the next great Bond Villain Indians killer. In reality — thank goodness — Kepler flew out to center.

Last thoughts 

The Indians did play some stellar defense tonight. Guyer, Kipnis, and Davis all made diving catches, and Davis also smoked Brian Dozier when he tried to stretch a single into a double.

Trevor Bauer pitched another good game

6.0 5 0 0 1 4 0 97-61 3.73

There is no need to complain about this pitching line. This is a fine pitching line. There are other pitching lines like it, but this is Trevor Bauer's, and he can be proud of it. It stands a little bit nice if Hector Santiago — a man who came into tonight's game with an xFIP of 5.34 on the season and 23 earned runs in his last four starts pitched the following game:

6.1 3 0 0 4 2 0 93-53 4.93

I just don't understand, baseball gods. All will be forgiven if you show us to the promised land, but what a strange and cruel month.

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