Baseball often has a way of evening things out. You could say the Twins, riding an 8-game losing streak and sporting an awful 2-16 road record coming into Saturday’s game, were overdue for a win. The Indians obliged, losing 6-3 in a game that didn’t feel as close as the final score.
On a windy, rainy, cold, dismal day at Progressive Field, the Tribe’s bats were just about as cold and dismal. Hits and runs were relatively few and far between. Mike Napoli scorched his 200th career double to deep center field in the fourth inning, then Jose Ramirez blooped a weak single to score him. Another Tribe run was gift-wrapped in the eighth, when Twins’ reliever Ryan Pressly walked Tyler Naquin and Jason Kipnis, then Francisco Lindor drove Kipnis home with two outs. At that time, Napoli came to the plate as the potential tying run but struck out to end the inning. Yan Gomes swatted a rather meaningless homer — his second in two games — with two outs in the ninth.
Poor Corey Kluber again suffered a lack of run support, but taking the loss was mostly his own doing. After cruising through four scoreless innings, Kluber gave up a lead-off single to Eddie Rosario. Two pitches later, Juan Centeno belted his first major league home run to put the Twins up, 2-0. Kluber was charged with another run in the sixth, although that one was a bit of tough luck. Trevor Plouffe hit a hard liner to left and just as Rajai Davis was planting his leg to catch the ball, he slipped on the soggy turf and the liner hit green barely in front of his glove. Another single, a hit batter and a fielder’s choice later, and Kluber was trailing, 3-1. Klu-bot was pulled with two outs in the sixth after giving up a lead-off double to Danny Santana and later a sac fly that scored him.
On the Twins’ side, Ervin Santana returned to the site of his no-hitter in 2011 to earn his first win of 2016. Santana pitched effectively, going six complete innings and giving up only one run on five hits and one walked batter.
The Tribe and the Twins play the rubber match of this series at 1:10 p.m. on Sunday. Let’s hope the Indians can return the Twins to their losing ways on the road.