SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Through 87 pitches, Jake Odorizzi was in total control and matching zeros with two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber in front of a raucous sold-out crowd of 19,516 on a humid Tuesday night at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.But it fell apart for Odorizzi,
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Through 87 pitches, Jake Odorizzi was in total control and matching zeros with two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber in front of a raucous sold-out crowd of 19,516 on a humid Tuesday night at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.
But it fell apart for Odorizzi, as the night belonged to Puerto Rico native Francisco Lindor, who deposited a 3-2 curveball over the right-field fence for a two-run homer in the fifth much to the delight of the crowd in what's sure to be one of the more memorable moments of the 2018 season. Odorizzi came back out for the sixth but promptly served up back-to-back homers to Jose Ramirez and Michael Brantley in a 6-1 loss in their first game since Thursday.
"I was walking off the mound and thought it was your average fly ball to right field," Odorizzi said of Lindor's homer. "Maybe the cheers pushed it out. It's just an unfortunate situation of wrong stadium, wrong time. I've given up a few in my day and I didn't think that was one of them, but it did and was a turning point in the game."
Lindor, who hails from nearby Caguas, changed the momentum with his one swing, as the crowd went into a frenzy after his homer and he came out to a curtain call after fans chanted his name.
"It's extremely special," Lindor said. "As a young kid, seeing the Expos playing here and seeing the big leaguers being in those situations where the crowd goes crazy. I got a chance to put the ball in play and it went out. It's a blessing. I'm extremely happy."
Odorizzi appeared to run out of gas in the sixth, giving up the homer to Ramirez on a 3-2 count before Brantley jumped all over a first-pitch fastball. It marked the sixth time Odorizzi gave up three homers in a start and was the first time since June 24, 2016, in Baltimore. But Odorizzi said he didn't feel tired in the sixth and believes there were positives to take out of the outing.
"I felt fine," said Odorizzi, who fell to 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA. "I thought the pitch to Ramirez was a good pitch and where we wanted it. It might've even been a little off the plate. He put a good swing on it and it was a ball that barely got out, too. And I didn't expect Brantley to ambush the next pitch."
Odorizzi, though, didn't get much help from his offense, as Kluber allowed one run on five hits over 6 2/3 strong innings. The Twins didn't get on the board until the seventh on a two-out RBI double from James Dozier to score Max Kepler.
"From what I could tell, he looked like he was pretty locked in," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Kluber. "We took a lot of first-pitch strikes in a few situations where we had men in scoring position. That kind of surprised me a little bit. Tough guy to hit from behind."
The Indians added insurance runs late, scoring in the seventh on an RBI single from Brantley off Alan Busenitz before Yonder Alonso launched a solo homer off reliever Gabriel Moya in the eighth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Twins can't cash in: The Twins had the chance to take the lead in the fourth when Puerto Rico native Eddie Rosario singled in front of his home crowd and Logan Morrison walked to put two runners on with nobody out. But Kluber escaped the jam, striking out Eduardo Escobar before getting Kepler and Robbie Grossman to ground out to end the inning.
"He's a very good pitcher," Rosario said. "He's the Cy Young [winner]. We had a couple of days with no games so sometimes maybe not everybody is ready to hit. But we're going to come back to the same routine and to win games."
The game between the Twins and Indians marked the first regular-season game in Puerto Rico since the Mets and Marlins played a three-game series from June 28-30, 2010.
HE SAID IT
"It was cool. For being 20,000 people, it felt very loud and felt more like 40,000. I figured it would be a good turnout considering baseball hasn't been here in eight years. They were out in droves, so it was cool to see atmosphere like this. Hopefully we can come out tomorrow and split the series." -- Odorizzi, on the crowd
Right-hander Jose Berrios is set to take the mound on his home island when the Twins host the Indians on Wednesday at 6:10 p.m. CT in the second game of the Puerto Rico series at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan. Berrios, a native of Bayamon, is off to an impressive start this season, posting a 2.18 ERA in three starts. He's struck out 24 and walked just one in 20 2/3 innings. Rosario, who hails from Guayama, will also start in left field as part of his homecoming on the island. Righty Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 3.48 ERA) will start for Cleveland.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.