tl;dr recap (courtesy of Tom Hamilton)
SWINGS AND DRIVES IT, DEEP RIGHT FIEEEEEEEEELD...GOOOOOOONE!!!! A joyous jaunt around the bases and soon a home plate mobbing for Francisco Lindor!
A slightly longer recap
This game was in the bag for Cleveland up until it wasn’t. Despite getting only five hits for the first eight innings of the game, the Cleveland Indians led for the majority of the game thanks to an error-assisted first inning and an “error-assisted” fifth inning.
Way back in the first inning, Jake Cave did not have a good start to the game. The first hitter for the Tribe, Francisco Lindor, hit a ball to the center fielder who completely misread the ball. He broke in and then realized “o poop” and scrambled backwards to try and make an over the shoulder catch. He did not make the catch. The next batter, Michael Brantley, gifted a line drive right into the glove of Cave for the out...except, the ball, much like the One Ring, had a mind of its own and leaped right out of the glove. So instead of nobody on and two outs, there are two on and no outs. The Indians couldn’t quite capitalize as they only scratched across one run thanks to a sacrifice fly off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion, but they got on the board first.
Fast forward to the fifth inning and the game is now tied thanks to an RBI double from Logan Forsythe an inning prior. Yan Gomes led off the inning with a single to right field, and Brandon Guyer dribbled a grounded to Miguel Sano for the first out...except Sano didn’t make the out. Charging a slow roller, instead of using his glove, Sano went to grab for the tricksy ball with his bare hand. Instead of grabbing it, he slapped it to his right and allowed Guyer to reach safely. Two consecutive ground outs by Lindor and Brantley allowed another run to score.
Two runs that probably shouldn’t have happened, but they did thanks to the Twins’ “defense”.
On the other side of the ball, how about Mike Clevinger? He must have read Merritt’s piece this morning and thought “I’ll show that guy” because Clev was stunning across seven innings of work. His fastball was routinely in the 94-95 mph range, and his curveball got all the way down to 78 mph. Such a huge velocity discrepancy had the Twins on their heels all night long. His only blemish was in the fourth when he gave up a pair of doubles to Miguel Sano and Logan Forsythe to score the Twins’ first run. But I’ll take 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R ball every day of the week from
our fourth any starter. Brad Hand did Brad Hand things and worked a clean eighth with a pair of strikeouts. It’s so, so nice having him in the bullpen. Especially because of what happened next.
With the Tribe up 2-1 in the ninth inning, Cody Allen took the mound. Miguel Sano stepped to the plate and took a count to 2-1. Both balls were well above the strike zone. On the fourth pitch of the at-bat, a knuckle curve on the outside part of the plate, Sano muscled a moonshot into the bullpen in right field. And just like that, the game was tied. But the nightmare didn’t stop there. After Max Kepler struck out, Logan Forsythe reached on a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Logan Morrison then made it to second on a fielder’s choice and Mitch Garver walked. At this point, Cody Allen had already burned through 22 pitches, 10 of which were strikes. Ehire Adrianza worked a full count before whiffing on another knuckle curve to end the inning.
With the energy complete sapped from Progressive Field, the Indians came to bat. After Rajai Davis struck out to lead off the inning, Kipnis had a beautiful opposite field single to left field. Yan Gomes then stepped to the plate and almost ended the game with a deep drive to right center, but Kepler made a leaping grab in front of the bullpen to save the game. With two outs, Brandon Guyer got another hit off of a right handed pitcher. A 3-1 sinker didn’t sink as much as Trevor Hildenberger wanted and he shot it straight into left field. With two men on, two outs, tie game in the bottom of the ninth in front of a reinvigorated Cleveland crowd, Francisco Lindor came to the plate. He needed one pitch to send the crowd into overdrive:
And just like that, the Indians pulled ahead in the series 2-1.
Francisco Lindor continues to be the hero that we want and need.