Despite a shaky first inning which saw him give up a run on two hits, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly, Indians starter Carlos Carrasco had a good outing against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field on Friday evening. Carrasco went 6 2/3 innings, giving up two runs, both earned, on four hits and one walk.
For their part, the Indians offense, led by Mike Napoli‘s eighth-inning homer and Jose Ramirez‘s two RBI, was potent enough to score five runs. Napoli went 3 for 4, and Ramirez went 2 for 4 with two timely singles, each of them driving in a run. Yan Gomes, who is mired in a horrendous slump, hit the ball hard in each of his four plate appearances, but each time the ball found its way into the glove of a Twins infielder. One such ball was caught thanks to a great effort by Twins first baseman Joe Mauer, who easily doubled off a Tribe baserunner for a double play. I’m pretty sure the Yanimal would rather have gone 2 for 4 with two bloop hits instead, but it was genuinely encouraging to see him make solid contact with the ball for a change.
The Indians bullpen was perfect, with Jeff Manship notching the last out in the seventh inning, and Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen setting down the side in order in the eighth and ninth innings respectively. Shaw and Allen each struck out two batters.
The victory keeps the Indians 6.5 games in first place in the AL Central. The Indians and Twins face off again on Saturday evening. Trevor Bauer will pitch for the Indians, and Tyler Duffey will take the hill for the Twins.
PS The revised version of the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “Believeland” is being shown twice this weekend on ESPN2: at 2 PM on Saturday, July 16, and at 1:30 PM on Sunday, July 17. If you haven’t seen it before, especially the new CAVS WIN! version, you owe it to yourself to do so. Thanks to my having been invited to watch Game 7 of the NBA finals with author Scott Raab, eagle-eyed viewers will catch a glimpse of yours truly near the end of the 90-minute broadcast, cheering as the Cavs take the lead and hold on to it in the fourth quarter.