June 1, 2012

I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if your team hits a grand slam in a baseball game, your team is probably going to win that game. Tonight in the fourth inning, Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis hit a first-pitch change-up from Minnesota Twins starter Carl Pavano to deep right center, over the fence for a grand slam. That swing turned a 3-0 game into a 7-0 game, and it certainly brought a much-needed smile to Indians fans. That was all the scoring the Indians would do for the rest of the night, but it was more than enough, as they beat the Twins 7-1.

Tribe starter Derek Lowe, pitching on his 39th birthday, went 6⅔ innings tonight, allowing only one run. His last outing was a disaster, which saw his ERA go from 2.15 to 3.25; tonight’s stint lowered it to 3.06. The win was Lowe’s seventh of the season, which puts him on pace—dare I say it?—perhaps to become the Tribe’s first 20-game winner since Cliff Lee, who had a phenomenal 22-3 season in 2008.  Lowe would have pitched seven innings of scoreless ball had it not been for a seventh-inning infield single by Twins shortstop Brian Dozier. Lowe, covering first on the play, was unable to secure the throw to first. Instead of the inning ending there, Lowe gave up an RBI single to the next hitter. His successor, Nick Hagadone, struck out Alexi Casilla to end the inning. Hagadone pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Jeremy Accardo retired all three Twins hitters he faced in the ninth.

It was good to see the Indians swing hot bats tonight, as they got 14 hits, three of them for extra bases. Lonnie Chisenhall, starting at third base, went three for four, including an impressive two-run homer to left in the second inning to put the Tribe up 2-0.

Indians fans watching the game on SportsTimeOhio were treated to separate in-booth appearances by former players Carlos Baerga and Albert Belle, both of whom were in town for yesterday’s charity golf outing. It was nice to hear announcer Rick Manning get them to share stories about the glory days of the mid- to late 1990s. But it was nicer still to watch the Indians bang out hits like it was 1995.

Yes, it was only against the lowly Twins, but as Gertrude Stein could have said, but didn’t: a win is a win is a win. They just need one more over the next two days to win this three-game series, and I’m confident they’ll get it. A sweep would be better yet, with the White Sox playing as well as they have been. What’s more, a sweep would wipe the smirk off the face of Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, a man I simply can’t stand. I think it has something to do with all those division titles the Twins used to win in the last decade.

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