Indians hold on to beat Twins 8-7
Kipnis falls just a home run shy of the cycle to lead the Indians to win
Cleveland, OH -- Cleveland scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning and the Tribe bullpen bent but didn't break, as the Indians beat the Minnesota Twins, 8-7, Saturday night at Progressive Field.
"We kind of had to hang on for dear life, but we did," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We go home happy."
The Indians maintained a patient approach against Twins starter P.J. Walters in the first inning, drawing five walks while picking up timely hits along the way.
Kipnis fell just a home run short of the cycle, picking up a single, double, triple, and walk in his first four at-bats. He would have become the eighth Indian to hit for the cycle and the first since Travis Hafner in 2003.
After a fly out, three more Indians walked, with designated hitter Jason Giambi walking with the bases loaded. After another fly out, Drew Stubbs drew another bases loaded walk, putting the home team up 4-2.
After walking his fifth batter and recording just two outs through the first nine hitters, Walters (2-3, 4.88) was pulled by Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. Walters gave up just one hit, but walked five, resulting in six earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning.
Anthony Swarzak came on in long relief and immediately surrendered a two-RBI single to Bourn, who reached base for the second time in the inning. Both runs were charged to Walters, as the Indians completed their six-run fury in the first.
Swarzak scattered four more hits and a walk over the next three innings to keep the Tribe lineup quiet. Cleveland plated two more off rookie reliever Ryan Pressly in the fifth, however, pulling out to an even bigger 8-3 lead.
With Giambi on third following a walk and a Lonnie Chisenhall double, Stubbs punched an opposite single into right field, scoring Giambi. Bourn followed with his second single and third RBI of the game, bringing his season total to 14.
Indians starter Corey Kluber (6-4, 3.68) was inconsistent, but pitched well enough to maintain the early Cleveland lead.
In the top of the first, he allowed a leadoff single followed by a Joe Mauer two-run homer, putting the Twins up 2-0 early. The long ball was Mauer's eighth of the season. The Twins scored their only other run off Kluber with a leadoff solo homer by Oswaldo Arcia in the fourth.
"I wasn't as sharp as I'd like to be, but there are games when you go out there and hopefully get through it and give your team a chance to win," Kluber said.
In all, Kluber allowed three earned runs over five and two-thirds innings, narrowly missing a quality start. He scattered eight hits and a walk, but rarely pitched without runners on base.
The Tribe bullpen was shaky, but worked well enough to maintain the sizable lead. Nick Hagadone relieved Kluber in the sixth and struck out Pedro Florimon to end the inning. Hagadone struggled in the seventh, however, allowing three base runners before being replaced by Cody Allen, who allowed a base hit to plate a run. Hagadone allowed one run in one inning of work while Allen struck out the final batter in the seventh.
Bryan Shaw gave up a solo homer Chris Parmalee to open the eighth, making the score 8-5. After walking two of the next three hitters, Shaw was removed in favor of lefty Rich Hill who struck out Mauer and Ryan Doumit to end the inning.
Vinnie Pestano struggled through the ninth, giving up two runs, including another solo shot to Parmalee, his second in two innings. With the tying run on first following a walk, Pestano struck out pinch hitter Josh Willingham to lock down his third save of the season.
"We won the game," Pestano said. "That's the bottom line. If I go out there and give up five runs and we win by one, we win by one."
The Indians will look for the sweep against the Twins on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 8.40) will look to pick up his first win of the season against Minnesota right-hander Mike Pelfrey (3-6, 6.11).
Notes: The Twins turned three double plays against the Indians and lead the majors in twin-killings (84). … OnlyMichael Brantley failed to reach base against the Twins.
Nathan Kemp graduated from The University of Akron in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. He plans to pursue a graduate degree through NEOMFA in the fall. Follow him on Twitter @NathanCKemp.