Indians beat Twins 5-1, clinch at least a tie for wildcard
MINNEAPOLIS – The Cleveland Indians surpassed the 90-game win mark on Saturday as they topped the Minnesota Twins 5-1.
Scott Kazmir (10-9, 4.04) received the start for the Indians, and the lefty tossed six innings of stellar ball.
Both teams remained scoreless through the first three innings before Cleveland scored two in the fourth. With two out, second baseman Jason Kipnis singled before first baseman Carlos Santana launched a bomb to deep right for his 20th of the year.
The Twins responded in their share of the inning with one run. Kazmir surrendered a pair of back-to-back singles before striking out the next two. Catcher Eric Fryer followed with a single to score designated hitter Ryan Doumit to cut Cleveland’s lead in half.
Cleveland never relinquished the lead as they tacked on three more in the fifth. With two out, catcher Yan Gomes and third baseman Mike Aviles crafted a pair of consecutive singles before centerfielder Michael Bourn hit a triple off the right field wall. After right fielder Nick Swisher drew a walk, Kipnis singled again to score Bourn, giving the Indians the 5-1 lead.
That was all Kazmir and the Cleveland bullpen needed as they recorded a series of shutout innings through the remainder of the game. Kazmir lasted six innings, yielding the one run on six hits and two walks while striking out 11.
Twins’ starter Cole De Vries remained in the game for five innings, allowing five runs on six hits, one walk and seven strikeouts.
Indians’ relievers Marc Rzepczynski relieved Kazmir to start the seventh. Cody Allen took care of the eighth inning before righty Joe Smith tossed a perfect ninth to lock down Cleveland’s 91st win of the season.
Saturday’s victory advances the Indians one step closer to postseason play. The Texas Rangers defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Saturday and the Tampa Bay Rays fell to the Toronto Blue Jays. This leaves Cleveland one game ahead in the American League wildcard standings, while Texas and Tampa Bay are each locked behind with 90-71 records apiece.
If Cleveland is victorious on Sunday, they’ll clinch home field advantage for the American League wildcard game scheduled for Wednesday. If they lose and the Rays and Rangers win, they’ll still play beyond the 162-game regular season as they’ll play in a tiebreaker game which would take place on Monday against the Rays in Cleveland. If either the Rays or Rangers lose, the Indians will secure a spot in Wednesday’s wildcard game.
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.
Go Tribe. What a year. Finish if off today so we can party like it is 1999 and have another big party on Wednesday in Cleveland. That should be A LOT of fun to host a home playoff game.