Tonight, the national baseball nightmare ended, as Liam Hendriks managed to get his first major league win, beating the Cleveland Indians 6-4, going a solid-enough 6 innings and giving up just 2 earned runs. The win broke a 17 game losing streak for the rookie pitcher, and prevented him from securing a solid position in MLB history with a winless streak to start a career.
Hendriks was able to keep the Indians quiet for most of the night, with just an Asdrubal Cabrera home run given up in the first inning and a Jason Kipnis RBI single in the third. Other than that, Hendriks looked like he was pretty much on his game, and for once, the baseball gods were on his side. While Hendriks did walk two batters, and only struck out one Indian (Lonnie Chisenhall in the second), his efforts were enough to secure the Twins another win against Cleveland tonight, and to secure himself his first big league win.
Read the rest of the recap after the jump.
Though his performance didn't exactly steal the spotlight away from Hendriks, Josh Willingham also had a pretty good game, getting four of the Twins' six runs across the plate, two of them coming from his 35th home run of the season. There haven't been any Twins players that have hit 35 home runs in one season since the 1970s--I think it's fair to say that Willingham has been an excellent pickup for the Twins, even if he's having a career year right now. Willingham ended up going 4-for-5 with 4 RBI and 1 run scored. Not a bad night at all.
Also on the offensive side, the Twins stole some bases tonight, with two different Minnesota players swiping bags. Trevor Plouffe stole his first base of the year off Zach McAllister and Carlos Santana. Denard Span stole his 16th base of the year off of Indians bullpen pitcher Chris Seddon.
The Twins were able to really take advantage of the Indians' weaknesses tonight (and there seem to be so many--remember when this team was in first place for a while?!), and capitalized on a couple opportunities when they presented themselves, something that's been lacking much of the season. The bullpen continues to be hit-and-miss as well, with Alex Burnett coming on in relief of Hendriks and allowed two more runs to score on three hits. Thankfully, Tyler Robertson and Glen Perkins made scoreless appearances to end the game and keep the Twins one more game away from a 100 loss season.
-Liam Hendriks--first ML win! Congrats!
-Josh Willingham--props to Yes Pig for being awesome.
-No one gets a dud status when the Twins win (most of the time...)!
Up Next: The Twins finish their series with Cleveland tomorrow at Progressive Field. The game starts at 11:05 am CST, with Esmerling Vasquez (0-2, 7.53 ERA) throwing for Minnesota and Corey Kluber (1-4, 5.48 ERA) going for Cleveland.