Things did not start well.
That is the first thing to know about the Tribe’s Tuesday night match-up against the Twins. Starting pitcher Josh Tomlin gave up the first pitch for a Brian Dozier home run. The first pitch. It was the 35th home run Tomlin has given up this season. The Twins scored again on a double by Joe Mauer and single by Miguel Sano. The game was 2-0 before the Indians even came up to bat.
Such an inauspicious beginning might make you think the entire night would end up being a hot mess. Fortunately things got a little better, then a little worse, then a lot better. In the home half of the first, Rajai Davis started things off with a double, and for one brief, shining moment, that little Twins lead didn’t look like it would hold for long. Then Davis got greedy and tried to steal third. He was thrown out. His presence on the bases was sorely missed when Jason Kipnis came up and slammed a home run into right field. Instead of tying things up, it was a 2-1 game.
And that was only the first inning.
The Twins small-balled their way to two more runs in the top of the 2nd, making it a 4-1 ball game. Shawn Armstrong came in to relieve Tomlin in the middle of the 2nd. Tomlin threw 41 pitches in 1.2 innings and was tagged for all four Minnesota runs. Not a good night for the Little Cowboy, but not to worry, this is the part where it gets better again. With Abraham Almonte on 2nd and Chris Gimenez on 1st (after his first of three walks on the night), Rajai Davis earned his Tuesday Night Redemption with a three-run homer to tie things up 4-4.
And that was only the second inning.
The 4th inning was another mish-mash of good and bad. With Chris Gimenez on 1st (he walked, again), Rajai Davis singled to left. Gimenez tried to stretch things and was thrown out at 3rd. Jason Kipnis walked, so the Indians still had runners at 1st and 2nd for Francisco Lindor, who hit a sharp double to center. Davis easily scored. Not to be outdone, Kipnis tried to score too. One would think that by this point in the night, the Indians’ baserunners would have learned not to be greedy. One would think, but one would be wrong. Kipnis was throw out at home by a half a mile. So while the Indians at that point should have had as many as 8 runs, they only had 5. Fortunately, the Twins still had 4.
It remained a 5-4 ballgame right to the end. With the exception of Zack McAllister playing hackey sack with a line drive back to the mound (and holding onto it for the out), the last five innings were a subdued battle between Cleveland and Minnesota’s respective bullpens. Dan Otero was especially stellar, going 2.2 innings with no hits, no walks, no runs, and striking out three. Final score, 5-4, and the Indians live to fight another day, their 4.5 game lead over Detroit intact.