Minnesota batters hit a lot of ground balls. Cleveland batters did not, and they won.
In the first, the Twins actually led the ballgame, stringing together a miniature two-out rally. Byron Buxton chopped an infield single to short before Nelson Cruz whomped a stand-up triple down the right field line.
(I’m placing a paragraph break here so you all can appreciate that Nelson Cruz hit a stand-up triple.)
Alex Kirilloff then singled off the left field wall to score Cruz, but made the mistake of running on Eddie Rosario and was thrown out at second.
Unfortunately, then it was Cleveland’s turn to hit.
José Ramírez halved the lead with a solo home run, and Franmil Reyes matched the feat an inning later, sending a Kenta Maeda offering about seven thousand feet to tie the score. Maeda nearly escaped the third unscathed, but Kirilloff dropped a Ramírez fly ball (the play was ruled a double; I disagree) that allowed César Hernández to score the go-ahead run.
Meanwhile, the Twins kept hitting ground ball out after ground ball out off Aaron Civale, only getting to him in the fourth. After an infield single by Cruz and an advancement to second on the error (again, I beef with the official scorer; I’d have called it a two-base error), Willians Astudillo singled into the gap in right-center with one out to knot the game. Jake Cave’s double put two men in scoring position, but Civale retired the next two men to end the threat. He then put down the next 11, just to rub it in.
As the Twins kept putting the ball on the ground, Cleveland... didn’t.
With two outs in the sixth, Reyes sent a pitch approximately six thousand feet, giving the home team a one-run lead. After Josh Naylor doubled off the wall in the left-center gap, Caleb Thielbar came in only to surrender a Jake Bauers double off the wall in the right-center gap.
In the eighth, Byron Buxton tired of Civale’s streak of 13 outs and planted a pitch into the seats in left to make the score 5-4. But the bottom of the eighth saw Alexander Colomé enter (“He can’t surrender a lead at least” -gintzer) and give that run back, plunking one man and walking three, a free run without a fair ball. Jorge Alcala came in to quell the disaster, but allowed one of his inherited runners in by hitting Jordan Luplow, sending the game to the ninth with a three-run Cleveland lead.
James Karinchak completed a perfect four-out save, and that was how it ended.
THERE WERE STILL STUDS:
- Byron Buxton: 2-4, HR, 2 R, RBI
- Nelson Cruz: 2-4, 3B, 2 R, RBI
- Jake Cave: 2-4, 2B
BUT MORE DUDS:
- Alexander Colomé: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 2 R, 3 BB, HBP, 2 K
- Kenta Maeda: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 3 K
- Luis Arraez, Josh Donaldson: combined 0-8, K from the 1-2 spots in the order
- Cleveland’s official scorer: for calling two clear errors hits
- Home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi: for an egregious strike-three call on an outside pitch to Franmil Reyes
- Milk: Duds
ROLL (to bed already) CALL:
|12||So Cal Vike||1|
Comment of the Game goes to norff’s observation of Fangraphs’ win probabilty chances for Cleveland, just to make us all suffer a little more.
I genuinely hope we all sleep well tonight.