MINNEAPOLIS -- A routine throw back to the mound. A tailor-made double-play grounder. Those were the types of things that played a role in sending the Indians to an ugly loss to the Twins on Saturday afternoon at Target Field.During manager Terry Francona's tenure in Cleveland, playing clean baseball has
MINNEAPOLIS -- A routine throw back to the mound. A tailor-made double-play grounder. Those were the types of things that played a role in sending the Indians to an ugly loss to the Twins on Saturday afternoon at Target Field.
During manager Terry Francona's tenure in Cleveland, playing clean baseball has been a signature attribute for his clubs. That was far from the case in this 7-1 defeat at the hands of the Twins, who made the most of the extra outs provided by the Tribe defense on a day Trevor Bauer was piling up strikeouts.
"We did that a couple times," Francona said of making defensive mistakes. "It doesn't mean you can't win, but it makes it a lot harder."
When it was all said and done, Bauer exited with seven runs charged to his line, though four were unearned due to the miscues around him. That tied the most unearned runs for a pitcher in a game this season in the Majors. The right-hander struck out 11 -- marking his fourth double-digit showing this season -- and took the loss after 5 2/3 turbulent innings.
"Bauer had really good stuff tonight," Twins second baseman James Dozier said. "He struck out his fair share of stuff, but we were able to capitalize, especially getting runners on base and scoring position to get those runs."
The first sign that it was going to be one of those days for the Indians arrived in the third, when Bauer fired a pick-off throw to first to keep Ehire Adrianza close to the bag. First baseman Yonder Alonso received the throw and then tossed it back to the mound, where the ball dropped below Bauer's glove and skipped wildly to the third-base line.
Third baseman Jose Ramirez hustled to retrieve the ball and threw quickly to shortstop Francisco Lindor at second, but Adrianza's 90-foot sprint was successful. Later in the inning, Bauer surrendered three runs on back-to-back pitches. First, Dozier sent an outside cutter off the right-field wall for an RBI triple. Then, Eddie Rosario yanked a first-pitch cutter in on his hands out to right for a two-run homer.
"It was in his own batter's box," Bauer said of the pitch Rosario hit.
Things eventually unraveled on the Indians in a four-run sixth inning.
With no outs and a runner on first, Bauer induced a grounder off the bat of Robbie Grossman for what looked like a twin-killing in the making. Second baseman Jason Kipnis bobbled the roller and was unable to record an out on the play, putting two on for Max Kepler. The Twins outfielder made the Tribe pay with an RBI single up the middle.
"We got into that sixth and instead of being one out and a runner on first," Francona said, "now all of a sudden it's no outs and first and second. It just snowballed from there. I don't know [if Kipnis could have started a double play], but I mean, you certainly think you're going to get one. It might not have been hit hard enough for two."
Asked about the botched ground ball, Bauer bit his tongue.
"I was just out there trying to do everything I could to help my team win," replied the pitcher.
Following a run-scoring single with two outs from Ryan LaMarre, Bauer was pulled at 104 pitches in favor of Dan Otero, who promptly allowed an RBI double to Dozier. One batter later, Oliver Perez's first pitch in an Indians uniform resulted in a passed ball by catcher Roberto Perez, allowing LaMarre to score from third to put Cleveland behind, 7-1.
"It's good to get a win against a division rival," Twins manager Paul Molitor said, "somebody who is ahead of us in the standings. Hopefully, we can win the series tomorrow."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Stealing a run: The Indians had trouble breaking through against Twins starter Lance Lynn, who walked five and hit a better in his six innings. Cleveland went 1-for-8 with runners on base against the right-hander. The Tribe's only run off Lynn came with one out and runners on the corners in the second.
On a strikeout pitch to Perez, Kipnis stole second, drawing a throw from catcher Mitch Garver. Once the ball left Garver's fingertips, Greg Allen sprinted from third, beating a throw to the plate for a steal of home. It marked the first time an Indians player stole home since June 28, 2016, when Lindor achieved the feat as part of a double steal against the Braves.
"They did a good job," Francona said of the double steal against Lynn. "Kip, heads-up and that's kind of [how that play is designed]. He might have been a hair slow on his reaction, but [Allen] is quick enough where it still works."
HE SAID IT
"There's a lot to like. We've seen him, because he's been pitching for a long time. But his stuff is still there. As a matter of fact, it might be a tick or two above what it had been. There's a ton of deception, but it's nice when you're not just relying on deception. It's nice when there's deception with stuff." --Francona, on Perez striking out three in 1 1/3 innings in his Indians debut
Right-hander Mike Clevinger (4-2, 3.14 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound on Sunday, when the Twins host the Tribe at 2:10 p.m. ET at Target Field for the finale of a four-game set. Clevinger has posted a 1.61 ERA in four road starts this season. Kyle Gibson (1-3, 3.57 ERA) starts for the Twins.
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.