The Cleveland Indians continued their slow but certain march to the AL Central crown with a 8-1 blowout victory over their chief division rival, the Minnesota Twins.
“Not today, comebacker!”
We’re all well aware of Carlos Carrasco’s history with line drives up the middle. More importantly, Carrasco is well aware of his own history with line drives up in the middle, which makes it impressive that he is even able to take the mound and deliver pitch after pitch without thinking about the possibility of getting drilled (again) by a comebacker.
I bring this up because the Indians pitcher had yet another close call tonight, when a line drive off the bat of Ehire Adrianza narrowly missed inflicting serious damage upon Carrasco, who hit the deck and probably had Tribe fans everywhere collectively holding their breath.
He responded by striking out Joe Mauer and Logan Forsythe to end the inning.
Strikeouts were the theme of the night for Carrasco in a scoreless outing, as he punched out 11 batters and surrendered four hits and two walks over 7.2 innings pitched. His curveball was especially effective, accounting for the third strike in all but two of his strikeouts.
Dan Otero pitched the ninth inning and continued his season-long struggles, allowing a one-out Jake Cave solo home run to ruin the shutout.
Aggressive baserunning sparked the Indians’ offense
In the third inning, Francisco Lindor took Twins starting pitcher Kyle Gibson to a full count before sending a single up the middle. Michael Brantley followed with a liner to center field, and Lindor put his head down and went from first to third, beating the throw from Jake Cave. He would score on a sacrifice fly from Ramirez, opening up a 1-0 lead for the Tribe. The Indians would add another run to that lead courtesy of an RBI single from Edwin Encarnacion.
Greg Allen delivered an RBI groundout in the fifth inning to score Melky Cabrera from third, making it a comfortable 3-0 cushion for Carrasco.
In the sixth inning, Jason Kipnis reached on a leadoff bunt single. Then Yan Gomes blooped a broken bat single into right field and Kipnis challenged the arm of right fielder
Gabe Max Kepler, advancing to third after Kepler’s throw narrowly missed Miguel Sano’s glove. He would score, extending the Indians’ lead to 4-0, on another RBI groundout from Allen.
Things got out of hand from there.
Lindor singled up the middle to put runners at first and second, setting the stage for a Ramirez to plate a pair of runs with a double past the outstretched glove of Eddie Rosario in left center. With two outs and a 6-0 lead, Encarnacion shot an RBI single to left, scoring Ramirez easily after Rosario bobbled the ball before he could make a throw.
Yandy Diaz, stepping in for Encarnacion, made it 8-0 in the eighth inning with an RBI groundout to score Erik Gonzalez, in for Lindor, from third.