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Cleveland 6, Twins 2 (11 inn): Cold offense, leaky bullpen wastes Pineda’s best start

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No bombas again, unfortunately.

Cleveland Indians v Minnesota Twins
The Twins could have used more of these.
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

A season-high strikeout performance by Michael Pineda isn’t enough when Cleveland takes advantage of a tired bullpen late. Inning-by-inning notes:

1: Wow, Yasiel Puig is only 28? Consider: in his 28+ years, he turned into a top-level Cuban baseball player, defected from Cuba, got blackmailed by the cartel that helped him defect, got blackmailed by the guy who paid off the cartel, made the MLB pros after less than two years in the minors, became the Dodgers all-time leader in postseason appearances, and fathered three children. (Admittedly, that last one isn’t particularly difficult compared to the others, although moms disagree.) Oh, and yeah — last month he became a US citizen.

What had I done at 28? Dropped out of three colleges, that’s something.

2: With two outs, Pineda walks Jake Bauers, who is not Jake Mauers. Nothing comes of it. Max Kepler reads the “accounts and descriptions” disclaimer during commercials. He lacks Bert’s enthusiasm. That is sometimes a good thing.

The Twins almost hit homers but not quite. When folks talk about this year’s team and their record at home, it’s worth remembering that Target Field has usually been one of the tougher parks to hit dingers in. The Twins rely a lot on dingers. So, you’d expect them to hit more in other places. Just sayin’.

3: What was that about homers at Target Field? Which fool typed such nonsense? Francisco Lindor proves Park Factor numbers are all LIES. CLE 1-0

4: Two-out hits by Luis Arraez and Christopher John Cron finally get Minnesota a baseball point. Their bats were so cold, it’s like they were visiting Dwarf Planet Pluto, not being visited by 6’3” Adam Plutko. Everybody has 1

5: Two on with two outs for Carlos Santana. Pineda gets him to fly out. That’s probably it for Big Mike, after a walk and two wild pitches in the inning. Plus the Twins have about 500 relievers right now. Seven strikeouts for Pineda, nice work.

Something weird happens to Jake Cave running out a leadoff single; LaMonte Wade Jr. pinch-runs for him. Hilariously, AtBat seems to think the pinch runner is reliever Devin Smeltzer (which would objectively be cool, but alas, it is not so). Singles by Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco score Wade; a couple of grounders get Plutko out of the rest.

With Byron Buxton and Marwin Gonzalez ailing, you don’t want to see the Twins lose any more outfielders. Twins 2-1

6: 9 PM means Surly time. It is Stu’s old recap night, after all. Pour one out for him. (Not really, don’t waste beer.)

I was wrong — Pineda’s still in there. On his 107th pitch, he gets Franmil Reyes for Mike’s 10th strikeout tonight. Season highs for both numbers. Wow.

7: Trevor May walks #9 hitter Yu Chang to face Lindor with two away, and lives to tell the tale. I mean, I didn’t think it was likely he would actually die, but you grok what I mean, no runs.

Wade is still looking for his first MLB hit; career PA #12 rolls easily to second base. Hang in there, LaMonte Jr.!

8: Sergio Romo Experience time; a leadoff triple for Oscar Mercado, who scores on a Puig sac fly. If this game goes to extra innings, I will find Romo and leave a single empty peanut shell in his driveway. Because discarded peanut shells are the worst.

Carlos Carrasco continues his rebound from a leukemia diagnosis by keeping Minnesota scoreless. I’m happy for him; but I was hoping for maybe a two-out error and thirteeen unearned runs. Both Sides, Now, 2

9: Jake Bauers, who should really just be singular now because Cleveland traded the other Bauer, manages to let himself get picked off by Zack Littell at first. Whoops. Submariner guy Tyler Clippard keeps Wade from his first hit (Wade did walk) and Minnesota from scoring. Prepare for peanut shell, Romo.

10: Radio had mentioned earlier that Nelson Cruz looked to be favoring a sore wrist in his at-bats, and, sure enough, Jonathan Schoop pinch-hits for him here. Schoop strikes out. Can whomever is poking voodoo dolls of Twins players please stop it now?

11: More beer time, I think. I’ll stick with Surly because that’s how extra-inning games make me feel. After a leadoff single by Puig, Cron misses a Jason Kipnis grounder and Arraez manages to get it anyway, just in time to nail the sliding Kipnis. (Post-LNP, nobody should be allowed to slide into first, ever again; you can’t top perfection.)

A wild pitch puts Puig on third, but Lewis Thorpe strikes out Reyes, Cleveland pinch-hits for Jake (not Mauers) Bauers, and Rocco’s modern life counters with untested flamethrower Brusdar Graterol. Then Francona brings in Greg Allen, and he’s intentionally walked. Roberto Perez tags a Graterol 97-MPH fastball. Advantage, Terry Francona.

Graterol plunks the next guy and gives up an infield hit to put Cleveland up for good. Trevor Hildenberger alllows more hit and seals the fan Twexit. Cron missing that ball, and a possible double play, hurt here. But so did the Twins adding no deadline bullpen help besides an old guy and an injured guy.

The Twins bat later, blah blah. Robot Roll Call:

Comment of the broadcast: “a strikeout would be huge here.” Yeah, with the tying run on third late and nobody out, a strikeout would be nice, Answer Man. Thanks for the info.

Cave has “groin tightness on his left side.” That could be serious or less so. No news on Cruz as of publish time. The Twins’ lead is, of course, 5.5 games now, and they will try to increase that tomorrow at 6:10.