The second that the ball left Asdrubal Cabrera’s bat in the 3rd inning, I knew it was gone. It was one of those moments where even my poor sense of depth perception couldn’t fail me – I watched as it sailed onto the home run porch. Since Twins pitcher Brian Duensing didn’t exactly have awesome stats coming into this one, I figured that the Cabrera home run was likely the first of many home runs/extra base hits. I was wrong though; the 3 runs the Indians put up that inning were their only runs to cross the plate. Thanks to a solid outing by Josh Tomlin and another strong performance from the bullpen, the 3 runs were enough to beat the Twins 3-1.
One thing that kind of surprised me – Manny Acta’s quick hook of Josh Tomlin with one out in the 7th inning after just 84 pitches. Granted there were runners on first and second, but I thought Tomlin may get a chance to work his way out of it. He still managed to stay in the game past the 5th inning, meaning that his streak of consecutive 5+ inning starts is now at 36. Acta went with Joe Smith, who allowed a run to score after a bloop single by Delmon Young. Rafael Perez relieved Smith and simply baffled Tsuyoshi Nishioka, striking him out to end the inning. This was the last real threat from the Twins; Tony Sipp and Chris Perez finished them off in the 8th and 9th innings. Jim Thome (who remains at 598 career home runs) looked completely frozen during his final at-bat against Chris Perez. Speaking of Thome, an interesting statistic – his 598 career home runs have been hit off of 391 different Major League pitchers.
Cabrera’s home run was his 20th of the season; meaning that he now joins Jhonny Peralta and Woodie Held as the only Indians shortstops to hit at least 20 home runs in a season. You also need to remember – prior to this season, Cabrera only had 18 career home runs total from 2007 to 2010. He credits Orlando Cabrera for tweaking his swing; if nothing else, that made the O-Cab signing worth it this offseason.
Michael Brantley did not play again due to his sore wrist, and he didn’t take batting practice prior to the game either. It sounds like they’re definitely leaving him out of the lineup on Sunday, and will consider putting him on the DL if necessary. I had a great time at the Wahoo Club’s luncheon with Brantley earlier today, where we got autographs and pictures and even got to ask Brantley a few questions. Some of the more interesting points that came up – his favorite outfield position is center, and he likes to face Justin Verlander (too bad he sat out Thursday’s game). When asked, he said that he has good lifetime numbers against Verlander and feels comfortable hitting against him. It’s good to know that when the Indians still have 10 games left against the Tigers!
The Indians have now won consecutive series (Detroit and Minnesota) for the first time since June 27-July 6 against the Diamondbacks, Reds, and Yankees. I attended the past 4 games and went 3-4 in my personal stretch. I have to say, the vibe was much similar to early this season during the past week. They’re hanging in there and can still make a push for a weak AL Central.