What more can be said about Tyler Duffey and that brilliantly nasty curveball of his? He gave the Twins six and a third innings on Thursday night, striking out six and allowing just two runs - both coming on Roberto Perez's two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh.
For a minute there it looked hairy. The Twins had pushed across a run in the top of the fourth thanks to a pair of doubles from Joe Mauer and Trevor Plouffe, but otherwise Trevor Bauer had been untouchable. Bauer was more than good enough for the Indians, allowing just the one run over seven innings. The only two hits he allowed were the pair of fourth inning two-baggers.
Brian Dozier picked up Duffey by instigating a clutch double play in the bottom of the fourth. Jason Kipnis had doubled to lead off the bottom of the frame, just coming out of Minnesota's run-scoring fourth, and he advanced to third on Carlos Santana's ground out. Lonnie Chisenall worked a four-pitch walk to put runners on the corners with one away.
Abraham Almonte hit a hard grounder to Dozier's left. He scooped, spun and threw to second, and Eduardo Escobar was there for a strong relay to Mauer at first to complete the double play. It was Duffey's first real trouble of the game, and his defense came up huge.
The Twins would start their comeback in the eighth. Danny Santana came on to pinch hit for Kurt Suzuki, worked a full count and took a six-pitch walk, and then Escobar pushed a double down the left field line. Santana was flying the second the ball left the bat, and came in to score easily and tie the game.
And then Cleveland more or less handed Minnesota the victory in the ninth. Jose Ramirez (remember him?) allowed Plouffe to reach by throwing the ball away. Eddie Rosario's single pushed runners to second and third thanks to Chisenhall's relay bouncing off of Eduardo Nunez's head (pinch running for Plouffe, he'd of course lost his helmet). Cody Allen bounced a ball near the home dugout on his next pitch to bring home the Twins' third run, and then Torii Hunter's sac fly brought home Rosario to cap off the scoring.
Poor Nunez, though. Maybe he needs to get a better-fitting helmet?
Jose Ramirez, in addition to allowing the go-ahead run to reach base, was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and two runners left on base. Which is more of less what everyone could have reasonable expected from him on any given day, so it was nice to see the Twins not throwing at him.