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.
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.