The Indians’ postseason hopes seemed to be in the throes of peril following a desultory loss to the lowly Twins on Tuesday night. The anxiety was only exacerbated on Wednesday as rains washed away the game, setting up a must-sweep doubleheader today.
Fortunately for the Indians, both Corey Kluber (8.1 INN/8 H/2 ER/7 SO) and TJ House (7 INN/4 H/8 SO) were up to the task of doing just that. The hurlers were brilliant as they lead the way on a chilly, cloudy day with an 8-2 win in game one and a 2-0 whitewashing in the the makeup game. In doing so, the Indians kept their playoff chances afloat, heading into another crucial weekend series in Detroit. With the two victories, the Tribe has crawled back to 3.5 games behind Detroit for the second Wild Card berth, going into this evening’s action.
And did I mention that this weekend is a biggie?
The Indians sent their ace to the hill at high noon in the opener, and Kluber padded his potential Cy Young résumé with another excellent outing, while the Indians battered Kyle Gibson (3 INN/7 H/7 ER/2 BB) as he struggled with his control early and the Tribe brought the lumber without mercy. The Twins actually lead in the top of the first thanks to a leadoff double and a Kennys Vargas RBI single, but that would end up being the highlight of their day. Carlos Santana would put the Indians on a board with a two-run shot (his 26th) that was crushed into the second deck in right field. From that point on, the Tribe wouldn’t trail at any point for the rest of the day. Yan Gomes would connect with the eventual game-winner, his 18th homer, and the rout was on. The Tribe would tack on four more in the third and then the final tally in the opener in the sixth inning. From that point on, KLUBOT was unfeeling towards the Twins’ plight; until the ninth, where The Machine gave a charity run.
Game two, however, showed the typical feast-or-famine ways of the Indians.
Nicky Nolasco (7 INN/6 H/1 ER/5 SO) baffled the Tribe bats with an array of curveballs and changeups (not to mention a curious decision of starting Chris Gimenez over Jesus Aguilar at first base) that forced TJ House to be almost perfect. Carlos Santana would supply all of the offense in game two, hitting his 27th homer in the fourth inning. He’d also add a sliver of insurance in the eighth inning, driving in Michael Bourn. Bryan Shaw overcame some usual shoddy defense to escape unscathed, while Cody Allen worked around a leadoff walk; coaxing a double-play that ended a long, but satisfying day of baseball.
Game 1: W: Corey Kluber (15-9); L: Kyle Gibson (11-11)
Game 2: W: TJ House (3-3); L: Nicky Nolasco (5-11); S: Cody Allen (20)