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Indians survive ninth-inning scare to beat Twins 3-1

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The Indians flirted with, but avoided, a bullpen meltdown.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Despite falling behind early, the Cleveland Indians subdued the Minnesota Twins 3-1 in the first of a four game series at Target Field. An Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Brantley carried the Indians offense, buoyed by six innings of one run baseball from Danny Salazar, and a trio of scoreless innings courtesy of Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller, and Cody Allen.

I’m considering adding “and a trio of scoreless innings courtesy of Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller, and Cody Allen” into Autohotkey, but given the detrimental impact on my heart health of Shaw’s past and Allen’s present, I may hold off for a bit. Yes, the relievers held the Twins scoreless, but it sure got interesting at the end.

Things didn’t look too great for the Indians to start the game, either. First, the umpire decided to extend the zone a few inches on the outside corner against the Tribe. I’m not making that assessment, the robots are.

According to @IndiansUmp, the Indians were hurt by seven of the eight questionable calls in tonight’s game. When it comes to judgement calls I will always defer to the robots if I am able to. It would be nice if there were more opportunities to do so in real life, you know?

Despite this mild handicap, the Indians manufactured two runs in the top of the third behind a Yan Gomes single (!!!), a Francisco Lindor double, a Brantley groundout, and an Encarnacion single. Brantley absolutely bombed a solo shot to right-center field in the fifth to round out the scoring on the evening.

Another chance arose in the sixth, after Gomes reached via HBP and Carlos Santana walked. Paul Molitor yanked starter Kyle Gibson at this point, and Taylor Rogers induced an inning-ending double play from Francisco Lindor.

A quick aside: why are double plays always induced by pitchers? Can’t they just as easily be said to create them? Produce them? Conjure them?

Because the Twins are the Twins, the win wouldn’t come as easily as the Indians would have liked. In the bottom of the ninth, Allen needed twenty-four pitches to earn his third save on the season. It was the most...adventurous in a while. To start, Allen struck out Escobar, allowed a single to Rosario, then struck out Dozier. It appeared that the indians closer would quietly close the door on the game. Then, Maximilian Kepler-Rozycki made his intentions known.

Allen:
Do you expect to me to balk?

Kepler-Rozycki:
No, Mr. Allen. I expect you to die.

Kepler lasered the first pitch into the alley in right-center field, giving the Twins a golden opportunity to close the gap. Rosario, however, stopped at third. If the Twins had a chance to tie the game on that throw, I think they send him. Making the last out of the game at the plate when the run wouldn’t have even extended the game is inexcusable.

The Indians weren’t out of trouble yet. Allen walked Miguel Sano, and completed the save only after Joe Mauer popped up to center field. Given that this recap was half-written at the time, I fully expected Lonnie Chisenhall to drop it. Fortunately, the Indians have not yet joined the trend in Major League Baseball this season by having its closers meltdown at every opportunity.

The Indians improve to 6-7 on the season, and face the Twins again tomorrow night at the same time.

Other items of note:

  • Yandy Diaz hit a single today with a launch angle of negative 62 degrees. It was essentially a swinging bunt, but it feels like the universe created him to see how well a hitter can play without ever elevating a pitch.
  • The hardest-hit ball of the day belows to Encarnacion, who belted his single at 112 mph.
  • Michael Brantley is back, yo.
  • Francisco Lindor hit safely for the eleventh straight game. .415/.478/.805 during the streak. He has also reached base safely in all thirteen games this year.

Top posts from Indians social media:

A quick look into the future of the team:

Also, this exists:

I’d take Shaw vs. eight lions