(Photo by: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS -- Mike Clevinger quieted the Twins bats for seven innings, Jose Ramirez stayed hot by driving in three runs, and the Indians cut the Twins division lead to one game by surviving a late rally to pull out the victory in the first game of the four game series on Thursday night 7-5.
The scoring started early for the Indians in this game after a Yasiel Puig triple, and a Jose Ramirez walk, Puig scored on a failed pick off attempt by Twins starter Kyle Gibson on Jose Ramirez at first, to give the Tribe a 1-0 lead. The Indians kept the scoring going in the 4th when Jose Ramirez drove in the first of his three runs on a RBI single which scored Mercado after he lead off the inning with a walk to make it 2-0 Tribe. Jason Kipnis, who kept his hot stretch of hitting going, followed up with a two run double to put the Indians up 4-0.
Minnesota got their first two runs of the game in the bottom of the fourth after a Polanco walk, and Sano getting hit by a pitch, Arraez singled Polcano home for their first run, followed by Marwin Gonzalez's RBI single to push across their second run.
The Indians came right back in the top of the 5th when Jose Ramirez drove in his other two runs of the game with a 2-run double, which scored Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana, to make the score 6-2 in favor of the Indians.
Mike Clevinger was brilliant in his outing against the Twins tonight going seven innings, allowing two runs on three hits and striking out nine to keep the Twins bats quiet outside of the two runs in the fourth inning and then the bullpen came in. The bullpen looked like it was tired after pitching 12 innings between both games of the double header on Wednesday with the Indians using a total of four pitchers, Adam Cimber, Oliver Perez, Nick Wittgren, and closer Brad Hand, to get the final six outs of the game.
Adam Cimber came on in the eighth recording only one out, while giving up three runs on two hits, with Polanco getting a RBI double to be the blow to knock Cimber out of the game to pull the Twins closer to the Indians at 6-3. Next up was Oliver Perez, he only pitched to one batter, got an out, but did allow an inherited runner to score on the fielder's choice as the Twins inched closer at 6-4. Next on the mound was Nick Wittgren, who came on with two outs to face Miguel Sano and he allowed a RBI double which made it a one run game, at 6-5. Terry Francona called on Brad Hand to get the final out of the inning and he did, as Gonzalez flied out to right to strand runners on second and third.
Tyler Naquin, then provided an insurance run in the top of the ninth with a solo homer to right, his ninth of the year, to give the Indians a 7-5 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
It was not an easy bottom of the ninth for Brad Hand after getting the first out of the inning, Adrianza singled to center, followed by a Max Kepler bloop single to left that fell in between Jose Ramirez and Tyler Naquin. Hand got the second out of the inning after a deep fly ball by Jorge Polanco. Hand intentionally walked Cron, which loaded the bases for Eddie Rosario. But Rosario could not get it done as he flew out to left to end the ball game.
The series continues on Friday at 8:10 when Shane Bieber (11-4, 3.31 ERA) takes the mound for the Indians as he opposes rookie pitcher Devin Smeltzer (1-1, 2.28 ERA) for the Twins.