CLEVELAND -- Coming off his best start of the season, it looked like right-hander Jake Odorizzi was on his way to a second straight strong outing until he hit yet another sixth-inning snag.
Odorizzi, who pitched into the seventh inning for the first time all season in his last start, couldn't get there against the Indians, allowing three runs on three hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings in a 5-3 loss on Thursday afternoon at Progressive Field. It gave Cleveland both the series and season series win, taking 10 of 19 against Minnesota.
"[I felt] just as well as the previous game," Odorizzi said. "That's a really good team, to keep them to one run going into the sixth inning is I think all you could ask for. I thought I had a pretty good game going. It didn't end up that way."
Odorizzi had given up just one run heading into the sixth on an RBI single to Edwin Encarnacion in the fourth. But he lost control in his final inning, walking both Jose Ramirez and Encarnacion with one out. Having thrown 94 pitches, he was removed for right-hander Alan Busenitz.
"I assumed I was staying in the game," Odorizzi said. "Just the way they were swinging today, hitting the ball. Gave up a run on a ball off the plate that he kept fair. I thought I had more, but that wasn't the case, and that's all I can really say."
Busenitz struggled, allowing an RBI single to left-center to Yonder Alonso before serving up a three-run homer to a red-hot Jason Kipnis that gave Cleveland the lead. Two inherited runs were charged to Odorizzi, who has a combined 3.05 ERA in the first three innings of his 28 starts, but a combined 6.27 ERA after the third.
"Coming off his last start, we gave him a shot to go back out there," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He got the first out on that fly ball, but then a couple guys walked and they scored and that's the difference in the ballgame."
Offensively, the Twins were held in check by right-hander Mike Clevinger, who gave up two unearned runs over 6 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts. Ehire Adrianza ripped a two-run homer off Clevinger in the fifth to give the Twins the lead, but the offense was quiet until the ninth.
Miguel Sano smacked a solo shot off Indian closer Brad Hand to open the final frame, crushing it to center with an exit velocity of 106.5 mph and a projected distance of 407 feet, per Statcast™. But it wasn't enough, as the Twins lost for the fifth time over their last six games.
"We didn't do much," Molitor said. "Clevinger was good. Gave us a lot of trouble. Especially against righties. Got a 2-0 fastball that AD took advantage of, but other than that, we didn't do much."
The next time the Twins and Indians play will come on March 28, 2019, on Opening Day at Target Field. It's the first scheduled outdoor game in March at home in Twins history.
HE SAID IT
"We talked about it before the series if we get in the right situation give it a shot. We're just trying to gather what players will do with it or if they'll take advantage of the bunt, those types of things. You could tell by his expression, he had to take it all in for a second and figure out what he wanted to do." -- Molitor, on the four-man outfield employed against Ramirez in the first that turned a potential double down the line to an out
The Twins head to Texas for a three-game series against the Rangers that starts on Friday at 7:05 p.m. CT. Lefty Stephen Gonsalves (0-2, 11.37 ERA) will make his third career start. Minnesota's No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline went five innings against the A's last time out, but gave up four runs on seven hits. He was hurt by four walks and a three-run homer. Right-hander Andrew Hutchison (2-2, 6.52) starts for Texas.