Twins Take Final Game Of Series 7-5 Over Indians

Out-of-place outfield costs Indians a win, but the offense shares the blame late

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Indians Vs. Twins Score: Minnesota Capitalizes On Shoddy Outfield Defense To Defeat Tribe 7-5

Today’s game, as was last night’s, was a game that the Indians could have won. Perhaps even should have won.

But a combination of lack of hitting late with men in scoring position and a bad sequence in the outfield to start the bottom of the eighth led Minnesota to a 7-5 win and a split of the four-game series.

Making a microcosm of the game and condensing it into three innings will pretty much tell the story of this one.

In the Indians’ seventh, in a 4-4 tie, the first two batters singled to get the Tribe off and running toward taking the lead.

Right? Not so fast.

Austin Kearns did his job, laying down a sacrifice bunt to put Orlando Cabrera at third and Lonnie Chisenhall at second.

But Luis Valbuena popped out and Ezequiel Carrera grounded out and the threat was over.

Okay, maybe in the eighth, when Asdrubal Cabrera doubled leading off, maybe then the Indians could score.

Travis Hafner hit a liner to right, but Cabrera could not advance on the play. Then Carlos Santana grounded out, sending Cabrera to third. And Matt LaPorta flied out to the warning track.

Still it was 4-4 going to the Twins’ eighth.

Alexi Casilla hit a fly ball to left center, splitting Carrera and Valbuena. Nobody really took charge of the very catchable ball, and it bounced into the seats for a leadoff (and tainted) double.

Then Joe Mauer hit a fly ball to left, and Valbuena pulled up a couple of steps short as the ball dropped, sending Casilla to third.

Easily, with an experienced left fielder, there could have been two outs and nobody on.

Tony Sipp, to his credit, struck out Michael Cuddyer, but Jim Thome walked, loading the bases, and Vinnie Pestano came on.

Tuesday’s hero, Danny Valencia, hit a liner toward right that deflected off of Orlando Cabrera’s glove for a go-ahead base hit, and then, after Delmon Young struck out, Tsuyoshi Nishioka drove in a pair with a single, and the game was as good as over.

Chisenhall did hit his second career homer in the ninth to account for the final 7-5 margin with a blast into the second deck, but Joe Nathan retired the last two Indians, and the road trip was over.

Sipp takes the hard-luck loss to drop to 4-2, while Matt Capps got the win to move to 3-5, with Nathan getting his sixth save.

Josh Tomlin started for the Tribe and went six innings, allowing four runs, while Joe Smith pitched a scoreless seventh.

Carrera, A. Cabrera and Chisenhall all collected two hits, but the Indians went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, while the Twins (with a lot of defensive help from Cleveland) went 5-for-9.

The Tribe will wait and see how Detroit does tonight. If the Tigers win, the Indians drop into second, while if Oakland triumphs, Cleveland will share first place heading into their day-off tomorrow


Josh Tomlin Goes For 12th Win In Wednesday Matinee

A ballpark with a big outfield might be just what the doctor ordered for Josh Tomlin and the Indians when their four-game series with Minnesota wraps up on Wednesday at 1:10 at Target Field.

Tomlin will go for his 12th win of the season against a Twins team that beat him in Cleveland on June 6. Tomlin gave up six runs and nine hits in only six innings in that start, but with the Twins’ home having a rather large outfield, Josh can afford some long fly balls that might be home runs somewhere else.

And after having surrendered 18 homers so far this year, I am sure that Tomlin will take any edge he can get.

Minnesota will counter with Nick Blackburn (7-6, 3.99 ERA). Blackburn has been tough on the Tribe in his career, going 6-3 against Cleveland with a 2.51 ERA in just over 75 innings.

This will be Blackburn’s first turn vs. the Indians in 2011.

The Detroit Tigers pulled dead-even with the Tribe at 51-45 with a win over Oakland last night while Minnesota was stunning Cleveland with a two-run ninth to win 2-1.

After this afternoon’s tilt the Indians are off on Thursday, before returning to Progressive Field on Friday to take on the Chicago White Sox to kick off a nine-game homestand.

Returning to Cleveland with a winning road trip rather than a .500 trip to Baltimore and Minnesota would be a psychological bonus.

So c’mon Tribe, let’s get this one today and wash away the bad taste of the missed chance last night.


Indians Vs. Twins Score: Chris Perez Blows Save, Indians Blow Game 2-1

Something tells me that, once we get to late September, we might just look back on tonight's 2-1 loss in Minnesota and think about a game that got away.  Or, we could just use it as another example of just how resilient the Cleveland Indians are.

For now, a loss like the one against a light hitting Minnesota Twins team, when Justin Masterson pitched a masterpiece, hurts.

The Twins got the better of Indians' closer Chris Perez in the ninth inning, scoring two runs on a single to left field by Danny Velencia on a ball that reserve left fielder Luis Valbuena could have made a play on.  Yea, the same Luis Valbuena that plays second base.  With Michael Brantley out of the lineup with a stomach illness and Travis Buck forced out of the game when he was hit in the head with a pitch, the Indians were forced to use Valbuena in left field for just the second time in his career.

In the end, the Tribe's lack of outfield depth cost them.

While much will be made of the Indians blowing the game in the ninth, it was the fifth inning, when the Indians loaded the bases with nobody out, that cost them the game.  Scoring just one run - on a sac-fly no less - kept the Twins in the game and set up the late-inning heroics.

The story of the night should have been Justin Masterson, whose 7.2 innings of four-hit baseball was a clinic.  Masterson struck out six while not walking a single batter.  He threw 104 pitches, 72 for strikes, and finished the night with his ERA hovering around 2.60.

After Tony Sipp finished off the eighth inning, Perez entered in the ninth, returing the Twins first batter before walking Joe Mauer - the first Indians walk of the night - then giving up a broken-bat double to Indians killer Michael Cuddyer.  An intentional walk to Jim Thome loaded the bases for Valencia who leads the Twins with 50 RBI.  His liner  to left field fell in front of Valbuena allowing both runs to score ending the ball game.

Can the Indians rebound one more time?  With a game tomorrow afternoon in the scorching Minneapolis heat they have little choice.  I guess we would have been satisfied with the split of this four-game series coming in, but the way the Indians swept the double-header on Monday, followed by the way they lost tonight, leaves an empty feeling that only a win tomorrow can fill.


Travis Buck Leaves Game After Being Hit By Pitch

The Indians are losing outfielders on a daily basis it seems, and the hits keep on coming tonight in Minnesota where Travis Buck was forced out of the game in the 5th inning when he was hit in the head by a Francisco Liriano pitch. Buck was only in the game because Michael Brantley was scratched from the lineup with a stomach illness.

Luis Valbuena, whose natural position is 2nd base, entered the game for Buck and played left field. The Indians are already without Shin-soo Choo and Grady Sizemore.


Justin Masterson Faces Twins' Francisco Liriano On Tuesday Night

The Indians will try to make it three straight in Minnesota on Tuesday night when they take on the Twins at 8:10 at Target Field.

After sweeping Monday's day/night doubleheader, the Tribe will send Justin Masterson tonight. Masterson (8-6, 2.80 ERA) will be looking to win his fourth straight start. Justin went eight innings against the Twins on June 8 in Cleveland, getting a no-decision in Minnesota's 3-2 win. In that game Masterson allowed nine hits but only two runs, fanning three and walking none.

Masterson will be looking for his first career win against the home team. In six starts and nine appearances in his career, Masterson is 0-4 with a 4.37 ERA in 45.1 innings vs. the Twins.

Francisco Liriano takes the mound for Minnesota. Liriano is 0-1 against Cleveland this year, and yet hasn't allowed an earned run vs. the Tribe. On June 7 Liriano gave up only three hits and an unearned run over five innings of a 1-0 Indians win.

Liriano stands at 5-4 over his career against The Good Guys in 13 appearances, including 11 starts, and has posted a 3.23 ERA over 64 innings. Liriano has fanned 75 Indians in that span.

Liriano is only 3-3 at home in 2011 with a high 6.09 ERA, so if Masterson can be on his game and if Liriano continues being lukewarm in front of the home crowd, the Tribe could be looking good at the end of tonight's action.


Indians Vs. Twins Score: Tribe Wins 6-3 To Conclude Historic Sweep Of Twins

The Cleveland Indians have done plenty of historic things so far in a surprising 2011 season.  You can add a road sweep of the Minnesota Twins in a doubleheader for the first time in 50 years as Fautso Carmona returned from the disabled list to propel the Indians to a 6-3 win. 

What a difference 12 hours can make.  When Monday started the Indians had serious doubts, both in the pitching staff and in the batting order.  David Huff was making his first start of the season while Fausto Carmona was coming off the disabled list.  Both had struggled against the Twins recently, especially at Target Field.  The Twins, on the other hand, were one of the hottest teams in baseball and looked poised to continue their rapid rise in the American League Central.  Just 5 games behind the Indians and Detroit Tigers, the Twins were a confident bunch.

Fast forward to Monday night and the feeling is a bit different, at least until game time on Tuesday night.  Carmona followed David Huff's lead by shutting down the Twins on 7 hits and 2 runs in six efficient innings and the Indians bullpen did the job again.  It was also another here with the bat for the Indians with Lou Marson breaking a 2-2 tie in the 7th inning with a solo home run to straight-away centerfield.  The Indians tacked on another run in the 7th on a Travis Hafner single and added two more in the 9th on a single by Hafner and a triple by Carlos Santana.

The Twins ended the scoring when Trevor Plouffe hit his 5th home run of the year off of Indians closer Chris Perez.  The Central Division standings now look like this:

AL Central Standings

Cleveland 51 44 .536 0 Won 2
Detroit 50 45 .526 1 Won 1
Chicago 47 49 .489 4.5 Won 1
Minnesota 44 51 .463 7 Lost 2
Kansas City 38 58 .395 13.5 Lost 3

(updated 7.18.2011 at 11:36 PM EDT)

The Indians will send Justin Masterson to the mound on Tuesday night against Franciso Liriano.


Indians Vs. Twins Final Score: Asdrubal Cabrera's Bat, David Huff's Arm Lead Indians Past Twins 5-2

No matter what you say about the Cleveland Indians, make sure the word 'resilient' is one of them. After squandering a great start to the weekend in Baltimore, then seeing their All-Star centerfielder head back to the disabled list, the Indians once again proved they can bounce back from just about anything, even against one of Major League Baseball's hottest teams, beating the Minnesota Twins 5-2 in the first of four games from Target Field in Minnesota.

The Twins, once an incredible 16.5 games out of first place, entered today just 5 games behind the Indians and Detroit Tigers in the American League Central.  The two teams seemed to be headed in different directions, and with Huff on the hill for the first time this season it appeared as though the Twins' march towards first place would take another step forward.

Not so fast!

Huff was masterful, and the Indians offense took advantage of an error to score four runs in the third inning to get the win.  Huff allowed just five hits while striking out five for the Indians as he controlled the Twins light-hitting lineup on a day where temperatures reached the upper-90s in Minneapolis.

Lonnie Chisenhall got the third inning started when he reached base on an error by Twins 2B Alexi Casilla.  Chisenhall advanced to second base on the play and scored when Ezequiel Carrera singled.  A Michael Brantley single set the stage for Asdrubal Cabrera's 17th home run of the season, a line drive shot to right field, giving the Indians a 4-0 lead.

David Huff did the rest, needing just 88 pitches to mow down the Twins.  Austin Kearns made the score 5-0 with a home run in the ninth inning.

The Twins got their runs when Michael Cuddyer hit his 14th home run - a line-drive to left field off Chad Durbin in the bottom of the ninth.  Durbin, whose ERA is now 6.75, could not retire a batter forcing the Indians to use Vinnie Pestano to get the save.

The two teams play again tonight with Fausto Carmona returning from the disabled list to face Twins rookie Scott Diamond, making his major league debut


Grady Sizemore Heads To DL; David Huff Called Up From Columbus

Just as Grady Sizemore was starting to hit again, his troublesome right knee broke down…again. The Cleveland Indians placed their oft-injured centerfielder on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right knee. Pitcher David Huff was called up to replace him and will start the first game of Monday’s day-night doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins.

Huff, who has made 38 starts in the majors, is 2-5 with a 6.57 ERA in seven career matchups with Minnesota. He was 8-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 17 games at Columbus this season.

Sizemore left the 1st inning of Sunday’s 8-3 loss in Baltimore with what the team called a knee contusion. It is similar to the injury Sizemore suffered earlier in the season that forced him to miss two weeks.

The setback comes during a hot streak for Sizemore, who has hit .400 (8-for-20) with two homers, two doubles and four RBIs over his past six games, including Sunday. On the season, the center fielder has hit .234 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs in 60 games for Cleveland.

It is the third stint on the DL for Sizemore this year.

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