Scott Baker's performance on Monday night wasn't totally aesthetically pleasing, but sometimes ugly can work just fine.
The Cleveland Indians made a lot of solid contact off of Baker, but it all went right at Minnesota defenders, and the Twins scored enough runs to get the job done in a 6-4 victory over Cleveland on Monday night at Progressive Field. The victory was the fifth in a row for the Twins, and it was the fifth straight defeat for the Indians.
Scott Baker juked, faked, and sweated his way through seven innings, allowing nine hits on approximately forty-seven line drives. He struck out five and didn't walk anyone, but really, it only happened because thekept smashing line drives directly at fielders. They lined out straight to in right a couple of times. The defense turned a double play on a line drive to second in the first inning, this after the Indians had started the game double-homer-single and it looked like Baker would never get an out. The Indians smashed the ball all over, and given that the Twins collected an assortment of bunt singles and bloop doubles to score several of their runs, if I were an Indians fan, I'd be incredibly angry at fate.
Things looked bad for the Twins early on, as Baker allowed an early two-run home run by Asdrubal Cabrera just four pitches into the game to put Minnesota down 2-0. However, the Twins got both of those runs back in the top of the second inning, thanks to a two-out, two-run single by Matt Tolbert that scored Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young to tie the score at two each.
The Twins took the lead in the top of the fifth against Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin, when Luke Hughes led off the inning with a double. Matt Tolbert then reached on a bunt single to put runners on first and third. This was followed up by another bunt single by Drew Butera to score Hughes and make the score 3-2.
Yes. . .bunt single by Drew Butera. I'll give you a moment to let that soak in.
Ben Revere then singled to center to load the bases, and Alexi Casilla then grounded into a double play that allowed Tolbert to score and make the score 4-2. Butera advanced to third on the play, and came in to score after Tomlin uncorked a wild pitch to make the score 5-2 in favor of Minnesota.
Baker gave up another home run in the bottom of the fifth, this one a solo blast by Michael Brantley with one out, to cut the score to 5-3. The Twins then added a run in the top of the sixth on Delmon Young's RBI double to put the lead back to three runs at 6-3.
Things got a little interesting in the bottom of the eighth, as Baker started the inning by giving up a single to Asdrubal Cabrera and hitting Grady Sizemore with a pitch before giving way to Jose Mijares. Mijares looked smooth in getting Carlos Santana to ground into a double play, which allowed Cabrera to move to third with two outs, but an error by Michael Cuddyer (playing first base tonight) gave Cleveland an unearned run and allowed them to cut the lead to 6-4. Alex Burnett then came on and struck out Matt LaPorta to get the Twins out of the inning.
That's all the Indians would get on the evening, however, as Matt Capps came in for the ninth. After walking Travis Buck, he struck out Orlando Cabrera, and got pinch-hitter Shelley Duncan to ground into a double play to end the game.
The win for Baker lifted his record to 3-4 on the season, and the save for Capps was his eighth of the season. Tomlin took the loss for Cleveland, his first loss at home this season, dropping his record for the year to 7-3.
The same two teams will get together on Tuesday night at Progressive Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 6:05 PM Central time. Francisco Liriano (3-5, 5.73 ERA) will make his return to the mound for the Twins after missing two straight starts, while the Indians will give the ball to right-hander Carlos Carrasco (4-3, 5.18 ERA).