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Cleveland Indians hit four home runs, roll to victory over Minnesota Twins

That'll work.

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Indians 9, Twins 2

Box Score

Indians improve to 61-45


When Mike Clevinger got through the first three innings of today's series finale without allowing any runs, I wondered if his fellow Indians starting pitchers were going to get on him about it. "Listen, rookie, here in Cleveland we give up a bunch of runs early when we're facing the last-place Twins. If you wanna be one of us, get with the program!" Clevinger would have been apologetic, but also have tried to excuse his scoreless trip through those first three innings. "I walked guys, I gave up hit! ...How could I know Joe Mauer would get himself thrown out on the base paths not once, but twice?!"

Not wanting to completely show the veterans up, Clevinger allowed a run in the fourth inning, and a leadoff home run in the fifth. He gave up hits to the next two batters too, but damned if Mauer didn't find a way to get make an incredible third out in the game on the bases! Still, with two runners on and only one out, Terry Francona decided it might be nice to win a game against Minnesota, and decided to go to the bullpen. (Besides, just by throwing a pitch in the fifth inning, Clevinger had already outlasted Danny Salazar, Carlos Carrasco, and Trevor Bauer's outings this series.)

Dan Otero came in and continued his fine season by recording the next four outs in order. Then, despite it being only the sixth inning, Francona did exactly what we should all want him to be doing with his new bullpen weapon, Andrew Miller, putting him into the game to get the opponents' best hitters out in a close game, which Miller promptly did, striking out three and getting an easy grounder. (Mauer was probably relieved to walk back to the dugout directly from home plate, rather than making a base-running gaffe first.)

Bryan Shaw pitched a scoreless eighth and Ryan Merritt made the most of his bus ticket from Columbus by pitching a scoreless ninth.

But enough about the pitching, the Indians scored nine runs today, so let's talk about that!

Jason Kipnis forced fans to awkwardly try to remember how to behave when the Indians are leading by hitting a home run in the first inning. It was Kipnis' 18th dinger of the season, giving him a new career high (wand with 56 games still to go). In the third inning, apparently having heard that his biggest fan was moonlighting as the recap writer today (can you moonlight on day work?), Lando Carlossian hit his 24th home run of the season, a three-run shot.

In the seventh, Rajai Davis, stole second, stole third, and then scored on a wild pitch. Those stolen bases were his 26th and 27th of the season, and he's now tied for the American League lead. That was followed by Francisco Lindor hitting his 13th home run, a two-run shot that felt like putting the game out of reach. For safe measure though, Jose Ramirez homered in the eighth, and Davis singled in Brandon Guyer, who made his first start for the Tribe today.

Winning today doesn't undo the terrible previous three games; the Indians should be giving up more than a run per inning to a last-place team (or to a first-place team for that matter), but a comfortable win featuring a bunch of home runs and excellent relief work does go a long way towards helping to remind us that the Indians are still in first place (with the lead back up to three games after Detroit finally lost this afternoon), and are tied for the best record in the American League at the moment, with the best run differential too.

Hopefully today gets things back on track, and a couple weeks from now, the first three games of this series feel like a fever dream.