Curve gives Milone win in key battle vs. Gomes
Lefty gets Indians catcher swinging to end bases-loaded jam
MINNEAPOLIS -- Standing between starter Tommy Milone and a chance to earn a win was a bases-loaded jam in the fifth. With Yan Gomes at the plate and two outs, Minnesota's lefty spun a nasty 2-2 curve that Cleveland's catcher flailed at in the dirt, ending the most serious threat the Indians would mount in the Twins' 4-1 victory at Target Field on Sunday.
For a pitcher making his first start in two weeks and fresh off the disabled list, Milone's curveball appeared to be in midseason form.
"Really, this year the curveball has been a pitch I've relied on a lot," Milone said. "Before the last couple years, it's probably been the changeup. I kind of adjusted my grip a little bit, holding a little deeper in my hand. It's been more consistent."
Milone also fanned Gomes on the deuce in the third inning, getting him to chase the breaking ball down in the zone. It's something he picked up watching his teammate Tyler Duffey carve up Cleveland hitters on Saturday.
"I took a cue from Duffey's start yesterday," Milone said. "I think all but one of his strikeouts were breaking balls in the zone. They're very aggressive. I took that and put it in the back of my mind. If you get two strikes, expand the zone."
"He didn't use it a lot the first couple of innings," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He was able to get Gomes there a couple times to chase it. The good thing is when he threw it, I didn't see any mistakes with it."
With Milone's pitch count rising, the skipper knew Gomes would be the last batter his southpaw would face regardless.
"As the inning shaped up, I was just trying to get him through Gomes there," Molitor said. "Gomes was 0-for-something. If he gets a hit there, then we've got to make a change."