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Trevor Bauer done in by Max Kepler and the Twins

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MLB: Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The sweep was not meant to be.

In all honesty, two out of three from the Twins and plenty of lively moments makes for a good series for the Tribe. But still, sweeping the three-game set would’ve been extra nice.

The Twins 5-4 win Thursday evening over the Indians means the AL Central lead for Minnesota is back to 10.5. Luckily, there’s lots of baseball left and two wild card spots available in the American League.

The Twins got a huge game from outfielder Max Kepler, who hit three home runs off Tribe starter Trevor Bauer. Yes, three homers. Kepler led off with a home run on the second pitch of the game, hitting an 84 mph changeup out to right field. The second Kepler blast came in the third inning on a slow, semi-hanging slider, and the third home run was in the seventh off a dead-straight 93 mph heater. Kepler finished 4-4 (and a walk) on the night with 4 RBI’s. He certainly made some DraftKings owners happy with that performance.

Besides Kepler, Bauer wasn’t all that bad. He gutted out eight innings to help a worn-out bullpen, giving up five earned runs on just five hits. Bauer walked three and struck out seven. It wasn’t a performance that’ll get him Cy Young votes, but it wasn’t total trash either.

Twins’ starter Jose Berrios was better. He mixed speeds well and kept the Indians off-balance, allowing just two hits and one earned run over six innings. He’s the real deal.

Offensively for the Tribe, good guy Roberto Perez kept smashing baseballs, hitting another home run (his 10th of the year). Oscar Mercado also homered, his second of his career. Mercado’s pinch-hit home run came in the ninth and brought the good guys within one, but Perez grounded out for the final out. The dynamic Tribe offense managed four hits on the night.

Other Fun Game Notes

  • Jason Kipnis batted second. He finished 0-4 and 0-11 on the series. Kipnis certainly seems like a great guy, but is currently rocking a 47 wRC+. Yikes. Not all contract extensions that buy up arbitration years work out.
  • Jose Ramirez had another error, a tough play that he had to charge in on and then sloppily let get by him. That’s JRam’s 11th on the year.
  • Ticket sales are good for this weekend at least!