CLEVELAND -- During a two-hour, 10-minute rain delay Tuesday night at Progressive Field, the only thing the Indians could do was wait while the storm loomed over the shores of Lake Erie.Tribe hitters were forced to wait even longer than the 9:20 p.m. ET start time for a chance at
CLEVELAND -- During a two-hour, 10-minute rain delay Tuesday night at Progressive Field, the only thing the Indians could do was wait while the storm loomed over the shores of Lake Erie.
Tribe hitters were forced to wait even longer than the 9:20 p.m. ET start time for a chance at any offensive breakthrough against Twins starting pitcher Adalberto Mejia. Said chance never surfaced, as the left-hander dominated Cleveland's bats across five shutout innings, surrendering a hit and allowing three baserunners to help lead the Twins (53-59) to a 3-2 win against the American League Central-leading Indians (62-50).
After letting the first two batters reach, Mejia (2-0) held the Indians 0-for-15 for the rest his outing, allowing a walk and striking out three before exiting after the fifth with 68 pitches due to a left wrist strain.
The Tribe's slow night at the plate magnified the biggest mistake made by starter Carlos Carrasco (13-6), who gave up a three-run homer to Mitch Garver in the second, supplying all the offense Minnesota would need. Carrasco set the table for Garver by hitting second baseman John Forsythe to lead off the frame, followed by a single to Jake Cave.
"He was trying to get back into the count with Garver, and mislocated," manager Terry Francona said of Carrasco. "[Garver] hit one a long way. So that ends up being their scoring. I mean, there was a lot of traffic the whole game, but he kept them off the board, except for that one swing. But it was enough."
Carrasco left a 1-0 fastball down the heart of the plate, and was still kicking himself about it after the game.
"I was just trying to get a ground ball right there," Carrasco said. "I threw a two-seamer and it came back kind of in the middle, so he got it."
The Twins recorded 10 hits off Carrasco, but the right-hander found a way to strike out eight against one walk in 6 1/3 innings. The outing is logged as a quality start, but marks the worst start for Carrasco -- who's posted a 1.33 ERA his last three starts -- since the All-Star break.
"We didn't get a lot of big hits, but we got one that really counted," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Garver's homer. "We had baserunners all night long."
Francisco Lindor put the Tribe on the board in the eighth with a solo shot off right-hander Trevor Hildenberger, sending a 1-1 slider into the right-field stands for the shortstop's 28th in 2018. Michael Brantley kept the rally going with a single into right and advanced to third on a one-out single by Edwin Encarnacion. Newly acquired Leonys Martin pinch-hit for Brandon Guyer and lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, deep enough to score Brantley to make it 3-2.
The rally was thwarted after Hildenberger struck out Yonder Alonso -- who homered in Monday's 10-0 win against the Twins -- swinging on four pitches. Cleveland got the tying run to second in the ninth, but Twins closer Fernando Rodney struck out Lindor looking to end the game.
"Tomorrow's another day," Carrasco said. "So we'll play tomorrow hard."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Tribe strands two in the first: Lindor led off the first inning with a bloop single just past the reach of first baseman Joe Mauer in shallow right field. After Michael Brantley was hit in the lower back, Cleveland had runners at first and second for its No. 3 hitter, Jose Ramirez.
Ramirez, who entered hitting .300 with a 1.039 OPS (3rd in MLB), grounded into a fielder's choice, but reached first and advanced Lindor to third with one out. But the next two batters -- Encarnacion and Guyer -- popped out to right and lined out to Mejia, respectively, ending the biggest scoring threat against the southpaw.
"He's shown some adeptness at being able to handle baserunners and pitch out of jams," Molitor said of Mejia. "He did it a couple times early, made some really good pitches."
Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario finished Tuesday 4-for-5 with two doubles. His only out was a ninth-inning warning track flyout in left, bringing the left fielder's 2018 average against the Tribe to .356 -- with a .729 slugging percentage -- in 14 games. Rosario entered Tuesday in an 0-for-17 slump against Tribe pitching, hitting .459 (17-for-37) prior to that.
Right-hander Mike Clevinger (7-7, 3.48 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound Wednesday in a 7:10 p.m. ET start at Progressive Field. Clevinger was tagged for three runs in six innings last Friday against the Angels, and surrendered four runs and seven hits in six innings against the Twins on June 3. Minnesota will counter with right-hander Jake Odorizzi (4-7, 4.60 ERA).
Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.