The Twins pummeled T.J. House and the Tribe in a 7-2 game on Sunday, winning the series behind right-hander Trevor May. Both starters were hoping to bounce back from rough first outings, but only one succeeded. May went a comfortable six innings, allowing one run on four hits, while striking out four. Meanwhile, House struggled through 5.2 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and two walks, with just two strikeouts.
The second inning was a rough one for House, who walked leadoff hitter Kennys Vargas before giving up a double to Trevor Plouffe. He hit Kurt Suzuki with a pitch to load the bases, but at least managed to get an out on Oswaldo Arcia‘s sacrifice fly. He almost got another out when Eduardo Escobar singled to left field, but Brandon Moss couldn’t make the catch and a run scored. To make things worse, Jose Ramirez misplayed a ball at shortstop to allow another run to score on what could have been a double play ball. House finally got another strikeout and a flyout to end the inning, but not before the Twins were up 3-0.
The Tribe’s lone run came in the third inning. With two out, Michael Bourn and Jason Kipnis had back-to-back singles to put runners at first and third for Michael Brantley. Brantley hit an RBI single of his own into right field to make it a 3-1 game. The Twins made up for the run in the fourth, when Suzuki walked and Arcia singled before Suzuki scored on Shane Robinson‘s RBI single to left field.
Any chance the Indians had at making a comeback fell apart in the sixth inning, when Robinson lined a two-out single to right field. Terry Francona decided this was the time to replace House, and he brought on former Twin Anthony Swarzak to end the inning. Instead, Swarzak walked Brian Dozier and gave up a three-run homer to Torii Hunter to blow the game open, as the Twins took a 7-1 lead. Carlos Santana hit a home run of his own in the ninth inning, but it was far too little and far too late to help the Indians’ cause.
Marc Rzepczynski looked the best he had all season, facing two batters and getting a groundout and a strikeout. Santana belted a long home run in the ninth inning, which was his second of the year — both from the left side of the plate. Other than that, positives were few and far between.
There were plenty of negatives in this game. Swarzak’s inability to get out of the inning after coming in with two outs is concerning. House looked shaky again, although he looked much better than he did in his first outing. Overall, this doesn’t look like the good pitching that everyone expected from the team. The offense is an entirely separate issue, because the Tribe isn’t scoring runs or even getting on base. Errors remain a problem. Lots of things need to change for the Indians, and quickly, before they get too far behind.
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Check It Out
– On Monday, the Indians will head to Chicago to take on the White Sox behind right-hander Trevor Bauer. The Tribe will face left-hander John Danks. Bauer has a 1.50 ERA in two starts, with 19 strikeouts and nine walks. Danks hasn’t fared as well, with a 6.97 ERA and just four strikeouts and three walks in his first two outings.
– The player to watch in Chicago? Kipnis, who is a lifetime .376/.463/.614 hitter at US Cellular Field, including five home runs. The Tribe generally hits well in Chicago, but Kipnis, who is a Northbrook, Illinois native, is certainly the one to keep an eye on.