Reaction: Cleveland Indians pummel Twins in series finale

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Perhaps the Cleveland Indians should use the pink lumber the rest of the way. The Tribe scored eight runs en route to a blowout victory in the series finale over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday afternoon. They tallied 13 hits and had six of nine starters record a hit, including four who put together multi-hit efforts.

Key Moments

First Inning

Brian Dozier led off the game with a home run off the foul pole in left field to give Minnesota a 1-0 advantage in the series finale. Cleveland responded quickly, though, as Jason Kipnis led off the game with a double and quickly scored on a single off the bat of Carlos Santana. The Indians threatened to score again in the inning, as they loaded the bases with one out. Nick Swisher was retired on two questionable strike calls before Michael Bourn flew out to end the inning. 

Fourth Inning

Backing up an absolutely masterful performance by Danny Salazar, the Tribe hung a five-spot on the scoreboard in the fourth. Kipnis got the scoring started with an RBI triple that plated Roberto Perez and touched home on another single by Santana. Michael Brantley added a hit of his own before Lonnie Chisenhall smoked a rocket into the right field bleachers to push the Indians’ lead to 6-1.

Fifth Inning

The Indians weren’t done scoring and picked up right where they left off in the fourth inning. Kipnis, again, started the scoring with an RBI single to center field. Perez scored again on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Santana, giving the Tribe’s No. 2 hitter an RBI in three separate at-bats.

The Positives

-Salazar had no-hit stuff again today. The Indians needed a strong performance after losing back-to-back games in the series and, aside from the lead-off home run to Dozier, Salazar was perfect through seven innings of work. Salazar matched his career-best with 11 strikeouts without walking a batter and lowered his ERA to 3.27 on the season.

-Kipnis continued his offensive tear since being inserted into the lead-off spot for the Tribe. The former All-Star second baseman tallied three hits, two RBIs and a stolen base in the win and increased his season batting average to .294.

-Five of the Indians’ runs came with two outs. Kipnis and Santana drove in one run apiece and Chisenhall hit a laser home run to right field with two outs and two runners on base in the fifth.

The Negatives

Zach Walters continued the trend, as the Indians continue to struggle to get any amount of production from the shortstop position. Walters struck out twice and is still without a hit this season.

-After tallying four hits in yesterday’s loss, Nick Swisher went 0-for-4 today and left six runners on base.

May 10, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall (8) celebrates with left fielder Michael Brantley (23) after a three-run home run in the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Check It Out

According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, the Indians only had one game (Sept. 13, 1936) in which the pitching staff recorded 16+ strikeouts and two or fewer hits. The team has done it twice already this year. 

-After a rough season debut by Bruce Chen, the Indians are reportedly weighing their options for a fifth starter. Cleveland will not need a fifth starter until Saturday in Arlington, Tex., but a decision will need to be made by then. According to Bastian, Francona noted that Chen could temporarily move into the bullpen and veteran right-hander Shaun Marcum could be an option.

-Now 11-19 on the season, the Indians will begin a three-game set with the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday. The Cards, meanwhile, are 22-8 but have lost two consecutive games heading into Tuesday’s series opener.

Next: Indians drop game two in the series

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