Cleveland Guardians News

Cleveland Indians: Welcoming the Red Sox to town

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 11: Carlos Santana #41 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates a grand slam with third base coach Mike Sarbaugh #16 as he rounds the bases against the Minnesota Twins during the tenth inning of the game on August 11, 2019 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Indians defeated the Twins 7-3 in ten innings. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 11: Carlos Santana #41 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates a grand slam with third base coach Mike Sarbaugh #16 as he rounds the bases against the Minnesota Twins during the tenth inning of the game on August 11, 2019 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Indians defeated the Twins 7-3 in ten innings. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Indians
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – AUGUST 11: Carlos Santana #41 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates a grand slam with third base coach Mike Sarbaugh #16 as he rounds the bases against the Minnesota Twins during the tenth inning of the game on August 11, 2019 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Indians defeated the Twins 7-3 in ten innings. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Riding the momentum of Carlos Santana’s 10th-inning grand slam on Sunday afternoon, the Indians look to take down the defending World Series champions.

It’s amazing if you think about the mindset the Cleveland Indians could be in right now if not for two perfect throws and a fatigued Twins closer late Sunday afternoon.

Marwin Gonzalez fended off pitch after pitch from Brad Hand in the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s heart-stopper, until finally he got ahold of one and sent it to the left field wall. Ehire Adrianza nearly caught up to Luis Arraez on the base path as the two rounded third to score the tying and would-be winning runs.

But Tyler Naquin and Francisco Lindor had other plans, connecting on the first of two flawless throws in a relay that ended with Kevin Plawecki convincingly tagging Adrianza out at the plate and keeping the game tied. Hand would then induce a ground-out to end the inning.

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Twins high-leverage lefty Taylor Rogers then took the mound for a second consecutive outing after throwing 31 pitches less than 24 hours earlier, and you could tell almost immediately he was not the same pitcher the Indians saw on Saturday night.

A two-strike single to Plawecki, a four-pitch walk to Lindor, and a misplayed bunt off the bat of Greg Allen later, and the bases were loaded for Carlos Santana. Santana decided to stick a fork in Minnesota’s uprising, sending a majestic no-doubter over the left-center fence to give the Indians a 7-3 lead for good.

Without the heads-up, Naquin-to-Lindor-to-Plawecki relay, the Indians don’t even get the chance to load the bases against Rogers. Without the handful of tough at-bats by Indians hitters late Saturday night–particularly Greg Allen’s nine-pitch duel–Rogers might have enough left in the tank to get through the 10th on Sunday and give the Twins the upper hand in the bottom of the frame.

The Tribe was staring down the barrel of a potentially season-defining loss. Instead, the Indians left Target Field in celebration, tied atop the AL Central with the team whose hearts they just ripped out.

Whatever cosmic magic is floating through the Cleveland clubhouse is now the problem of the Boston Red Sox, who will begin a season-deciding series of their own at Progressive Field on Monday evening. Let’s scout out the Tribe’s new adversary.

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