As good as Francisco Liriano was in his return to the mound on Tuesday night, it's hard for any pitcher to get a victory when the offense behind him only generates three hits.
That's the situation the Twins found themselves in on Tuesday night, as Carlos Carrasco turned in a brilliant performance, and a Delmon Young miscue in the field ultimately made the difference in the Cleveland Indians' 1-0 win over the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field.
The only run of the game came in the bottom of the fourth inning. Indians' first baseman Carlos Santana ripped an offering from Liriano down the left field line for a sure double, and Young appeared to be in a position to play the carom perfectly, but he didn't reach down far enough and the ball skipped past him, allowing Santana to go to third. Young was charged with an error on the play, as it was a ball he clearly should have had.
Shelley Duncan then grounded out to shortstop, and Santana came in to score and give the Indians a 1-0 lead. It didn't seem like much at the time, but as it turned out to be the only run of the game, it wound up being huge.
The Twins had a chance to answer in the top of the fifth, as Young ripped a one-out double to center for the Twins' first hit, and Luke Hughes followed with a shot up the middle that Asdrubal Cabrera made an outstanding play on. . .Hughes still reached first base, but the play kept Young from coming around to score, giving the Twins runners on first and third with one out. Unfortunately, Brian Dinkelman and Rene Rivera were unable to get the run across, and the Twins wasted their opportunity.
Carlos Carrasco pitched 8.1 innings in this one, allowing only three hits and four baserunners in total while striking out six. He gave way to Indians' closer Chris Perez in the ninth inning with one out and a runner on first. He then got Alexi Casilla to ground out, and retired Michael Cuddyer on strikes to end the game. The victory raises Carrasco's record to 5-3, and the save for Perez was his 15th on the year.
Liriano was the hard luck loser in this one, pitching five innings, allowing just three hits and the one unearned run while walking three and striking out seven. The loss drops him to 3-6 on the year. Chuck James and Phil Dumatrait combined for three innings of one-hit ball in relief of Liriano.
The same two teams will conclude the series on Wednesday morning in Cleveland. . .yes, Wednesday morning, as things will get started at 11:05 AM Central time. Carl Pavano (3-5, 4.83 ERA) will take the mound for Minnesota, while the Indians will give the ball to right-hander Justin Masterson (5-4, 3.28 ERA).