Now that the race in the Central Division is over, the Indians seem to have found the relaxed ability to just go out and play some baseball again. Or at least that is what they have shown in the last two games in Minnesota.
Behind Jeanmar Gomez’s solid 6.2 innings and a 14-hit attack, led by Asdrubal Cabrera’s four hits and Jason Kipnis’s three, plus a homer from Carlos Santana, the Tribe cruised past the stumbling Twins 10-4 to climb back to within a game of .500.
This one was decided in the first two innings basically, when the Indians scored eight runs and never let Minnesota feel as if it was back in the game. Gomez (4-2, 3.78 ERA) ran with the big early lead, and when Gomez’s day was through, four other pitchers closed it out, with only Josh Judy being touched for any runs.
Travis Hafner broke the ice in the first inning with a two-out, two-run single, and in the second the Tribe unloaded for six runs.
With one out Ezequiel Carrera tripled and scored on a base hit from Trevor Crowe. Kosuke Fukudome walked before Kipnis drove in two more and made it 5-0 with the second triple of the inning. After Cabrera was retired, Santana hit his second round-tripper of the series and his 25th of the year to chase loser Anthony Swarzak (3-7). Lester Oliveros relieved and walked Hafner before Matt LaPorta made it 8-0 with an RBI double.
Santana's home run tied Victor Martinez's club record for most homers in one season by a switch-httier
The Twins got one run back in the bottom of the third on a Michael Cuddyer single, but Gomez stranded two to leave the lead at 8-1.
Chris Parmelee’s single made it 8-2 in the bottom of the fifth, but Gomez got Luke Hughes to ground into an inning-ending double play with two men on base to again minimize the damage.
In the seventh inning, Gomez looked as if he may have injured a leg while coming off the mound on a grounder off the bat of Ben Revere. Jeanmar was pulled at that point for Judy.
Parmelee drove in two more with the first homer of his career in the bottom of the eighth, making it 8-4. Later in the inning Fukudome saved at least one run from scoring with a beautiful running catch in deep right, and the Indians made sure in the top of the ninth that there would be no ninth-inning drama on this day (as opposed to Friday night).
Kipnis led off with a double and advanced to third on an error by the left fielder. Cabrera delivered an RBI single to extend the lead to five, and, after the next two hitters were retired by Matt Capps, LaPorta walked and Lonnie Chisenhall came through with an RBI single, making it 10-4 and closing the scoring.
The Indians and Twins will wrap up this series on Sunday at 2:10, when Justin Masterson faces ex-Indian Carl Pavano.