Kevin Correia has been masterful early on this season, but there was no magic for him on Saturday. Having gone 7 innings in his first 5 starts in 2013, he was only able to go 5 innings while allowing 4 runs against the Cleveland Indians. Evidence that this was just not his day appeared in the very first inning, when Jason Kipnis took Correia deep with one out to give the Tribe an early 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Nick Swisher followed with a home run of his own to make it 2-0.
Correia struggled for most of the afternoon, as he was already above 50 pitches after his first two innings, along with giving up another 2 runs in the 2nd inning. He did regain his form in the 3rd and 4th by throwing only 19 pitches combined, but he had trouble once more in the 5th as he had to throw another 20-some pitches, despite not giving up a run.
Opposing him was Scott Kazmir, who indeed looked like he had rediscovered his talent that made him the ace of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays many moons ago. He kept the Twins offense off-balance virtually the entire game, as shown by his 7 strikeouts in 6 innings. He gave up only 2 runs, with the first on an RBI single by Pedro Florimon in the top of the 2nd inning, and the second on Aaron Hicks' first major league home run in the 5th.
The Twins offense did put together a few rallies against the Indians bullpen, who was missing setup reliever Vinnie Pestano, but they could only capitalize against Joe Smith in the 8th. In the prior inning against righty Bryan Shaw, the Twins had runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs in a 4-2 game but couldn't score. The 8th had leadoff walks by Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham, but they could only get 1 run with an RBI single by Ryan Doumit. Finally, they had runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out against closer Chris Perez, but Mauer struck out looking and Willingham grounded out to end the game.
Complicating matters was that the Twins 'pen couldn't escape their innings without giving up runs to the Indians. Anthony Swarzak did have a scoreless 6th, but then gave up 2 runs in the 7th inning, though that could partially be attributed to Aaron Hicks. With one out, Jason Kipnis lifted a deep fly ball to the fence in left-center field. Hicks retreated and leaped at the wall, only to have the ball glance off the side of his glove for a triple. While the play did require a lot of effort from Hicks, it certainly seemed like a catchable ball. Asdrubal Cabrera then followed with a double and Mark Reynolds had an RBI single two batters later to put the game out of reach.
WP: Scott Kazmir (1-1)
LP: Kevin Correia (3-2)
Aaron Hicks (1 for 3, BB, HR), though his defensive miscue in the 7th really hurt
Brian Dozier (0 for 4, BB), Justin Morneau (0 for 4, 1 K), Chris Parmelee (0 for 3, BB, 2 K), Kevin Correia (5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K), Anthony Swarzak (2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 K), Ryan Pressly (1 IP, 2 H, 1 R)