Jordan Luplow gifted fans the first walk-off win of Cleveland’s season in the bottom of the 10th inning to defeat the Minnesota Twins, 5-3, tonight. The two-run shot into the left-field bleachers capped a comeback that crystallized when José Ramírez laced a forehand winner into the seats to tie it late.
Zach Plesac battled for 7.2 IP, allowing three runs on five hits before Bryan Shaw and Emmanuel Clase handled the final two-plus frames. While Plesac didn’t receive a win for his performance he certainly earned one for holding the line.
Cleveland played much of the game from behind. Brent Rooker homered in the second and Jorge Polanco drove in a run via sac fly in the fourth. Other than that, he faced the minimum in the first, third, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. He dispatched two in the eight before allowing his third and final run on a Luis Arraez single.
All of this while racking up 17 called strikes and 11 swinging strikes in fewer than 100 pitches. I don’t know how you ask Zach Plesac to pitch any better than he did tonight, so I’m thrilled that the offense fulfilled its duty.
Eventually. Tonight, things got cooking in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs.
Needless to say, I’m not sure whether to thank Eddie Rosario or Luis Arraez for his double. Arraez (playing a relatively new position) failed to catch a warning track shot to left. Cesar Hernandez scored on the play. Rosario came home when Franmil Reyes singled to right.
At this point, Berrios had thrown fewer than 90 pitches and deserved none of the two runs he earned via outfielder incompetence. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli still decided to visit the mound. Nothing unusual here, except that it inadvertently triggered the removal of starter José Berríos.
You see, the pitching coach visited Berríos early in the inning and Baldelli presumably forgot. By entering the field of play he evidently signaled his intent to stop the game for a mound visit. Though he tried to return to the dugout, he’d been caught. Berríos exited. It didn’t hurt the Twins right away, but one wonders if later innings proceed differently otherwise.
Bless the Twins’ bullpen and may it continue to be a source of plenty. Tonight, Tyler Duffey tried to sneak around the strike zone. It worked until it didn’t. Ramírez tied it up at three in the bottom of the 8th by hammering a hung curveball down the right-field line. I called it a forehand winner because balls don’t do this, generally:
It just feels appropriate since he slapped a curve right back with even more topspin, somehow. For a home run. Because.
The game ended in dramatic fashion, so let me break it down for you:
Naylor singled to center. He advanced to third when Giménez doubled, but Amed Rosario slapped a roller to Josh Donaldson who dispatched Naylor at the plate without trouble. Two on at the corners. Two out. And Cesar Hernandez came to the plate.
He waggled his bat. He snarled. He yawned at a hung slider. He hacked at a sinker instead, which skipped along to Andrelton Simmons. End nine.
The game actually ended when Clase handled the 10th and Luplow declared that his people need him and he won’t let them down.
Not in this economy.
- I can only hint at the seeming lack of urgency in our bats so much before I hatch an ill-advised scheme to fix it myself. I can’t afford any schemes at all right now you guys. Even my shenanigans are subject to board approval lest I pull my ace on accident.
- Cesar Hernandez scored twice despite reaching base once. He is hitting .188. Stare Chaos in the eyes and try not to blink.
- Josh Naylor went 3-4 with a double. During the postgame press conference, Terry Francona quipped, “Anyone want to ask me about Naylor’s defense again?”
- There really need to be four of these and so I’m trusting you to invent one on your own. You can do this.
Cleveland threw 121 pitches tonight. The Twins threw 151, and I threw an entire cooked ham into my yard.
Cleveland and Twins, tomorrow night, same time. We’ll be around.