CLEVELAND - The healing process that needed to take place Wednesday night at Progressive Field looked shaky at the start, but in the end the Indians pulled out a much needed win, beating their AL Central rivals the Twins 6-3.
Mike Clevinger made his return to the roster, and allowed a homer three pitches into the game to allow the Twins an early 1-0 lead.
Minnesota continued to hit balls hard against him, as they piled on six hits and two runs over the first two innings, but then the Tribe hurler settled down and got right in a hurry.
Clevinger ended the night going six innings, striking out six and walking one, and allowing the two runs that came in the first two innings.
On offense Jose Ramirez’s three-run homer off Twins pitcher Jose Berrios gave the Indians a 3-2 edge, and the club put up three runs in the 8th with the game tied at three to take a 6-3 edge for the win.
Brad Hand was perfect in the 9th for his 9th save, and Phil Maton got the win in relief of Clevinger.
“We always play competitive baseball against Minnesota,” Indians acting manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said.
“They know we come to play and we have the pitching to compete with them. They carry some big sticks and have a lot of power, they came in early and hit but Clevinger settled down and it was a pitching night.
“Anytime you win a series against Minnesoat that’s great.”.
Now the Tribe is just a half game back, and they start a series in St.Louis on Friday prior to then a trip to play the rival Royals in Kansas City.
Here are a few observations from the 6-3 Tribe win on Wednesday night.
The “O” Comes Through in the Clutch
All season long the Indians offense has failed at big times when they had a chance to extend a lead, take a lead, or cut into a lead.
It wasn’t that way at all on Wednesday night during the win over the Twins to get the AL Central lead to just a half game.
The 8th inning against Twins reliever Sergio Romo the team put together maybe their most important half inning of the season in the victory.
It started with a single to center by Carlos Santana, then Franmil Reyes drew a walk to put runners on first and second no outs.
After a conference on the mound, Tyler Naquin didn’t wait to give the Tribe the lead, as he doubled to left field going the other way to give the Indians a 4-3 lead.
“Just hitting it where it was pitched, that’s our job, a guy like Romo has good stuff, just not trying to do too much, hit a slider in the gap, can’t get big on him,” Naquin said.
“He left a slider over the plate and I was able to shoot it the other way.”
Naquin continues to impress at the plate, and is going to keep pushing for playing time as long as he’s swinging a hot bat, something that isn’t lost on the coaching staff.
“He’s putting forth good at bats, no reason to ask him to bunt when he’s swinging the bat that good, he’s delivering,” Sandy Alomar Jr. said of Naquin in the 8th inning.
That wasn’t all, as Greg Allen had a very good at-bat that ended with a sac fly to right field that saw Reyes race home with a huge run to make it 5-3.
With Danny Coulombe on the mound for the Twins the Indians put one more on the board on a huge single by leadoff man Cesar Hernandez to make it a 6-3 game.
If you hadn’t seen this team all season you would think they were one of the better offensive teams in baseball based on that half inning.
It might only be a half inning, but it was a huge one that put the team back to just a half game back in the division.