Tribe bats remain cold, fall to Twins 5-1
Cleveland, OH -- Ubaldo Jimenez struck out a season-high 10 batters over six innings, but a lifeless Cleveland offense made him the tough-luck loser as the Minnesota Twins beat the Indians 5-1 in the opener of a three-game series at Progressive Field.
After the Twins squandered a no-out, bases-loaded opportunity in the top of the first, the Indians drew first blood in the bottom half. Michael Bourn singled to lead off the inning, advancing to second on a wild pitch with two outs. Carlos Santana drove Bourn home with a seeing-eye single between first and second, picking up his 55th RBI of the season.
Minnesota continued to square up Jimenez in the second, however, taking a 2-1 lead on three doubles in the inning. Through his first two innings of work, Jimenez allowed four doubles and two walks, as he struggled to command the zone. He retired the first six Twins via the strikeout.
Jimenez (9-8, 3.95) would settle down after the second, retiring the side in order in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, striking out four along the way.
"I don't know if he got mad, but he reared back and competed and let it go," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "I thought tonight was the best stuff he had all year. He was really good."
After allowing a one-out single to right fielder Ryan Doumit in the sixth, Jimenez induced a ground out for the second out of the inning. After a walk to Clete Thomas put runners on first and second, Wilkin Ramirez flied out to Bourn in center to end the inning.
After six innings of work, Jimenez was done for the night after making 114 pitches (76 strikes). He allowed just two earned runs on five hits and three walks, posting his second quality start in his last three outings.
Four Indians relievers struggled to keep the Indians close, giving up a combined three earned runs and allowing five base runners. Bryan Shaw came on in the seventh but failed to record an out, providing an opening for the Twins to pull away.
The Tribe lineup had scoring opportunities in multiple innings, but failed to capitalize with runners in scoring position.
In the fourth, the Indians had runners on first and second with one out following a single by Santana and a walk by Michael Brantley. Asdrubal Cabrera ended the threat, however, grounding a weak chopper back to the mound, starting a 1-6-3 double play.
Cleveland had runners on first and second again in the sixth after Bourn and Nick Swisher drew back-to-back walks off Samuel Deduno to lead off the inning. Jason Kipnis, coming into his at-bat 0-for his last-17, failed to put down a bunt and eventually struck out to record the first out of the inning.
"I had him bunt because he's had a tough time with Deduno," said Francona, noting Kipnis was 1 of 11 with six strikeouts against the righty before the at-bat. "That one would be on me."
Bourn was then caught stealing at third on a double steal attempt to make the second out, as the Indians short-circuited a scoring threat for the second time in three innings. After a walk by Santana again put runners at first and second, Brantley hit a lazy ground ball to first to end the inning.
"It kind of killed the inning a little bit," Bourn said of foiled steal attempt. "If I would have stayed we would have had bases loaded, but that happens. I take blame for it.
"I felt like I knew what was going on and he made a great throw," said Bourn, who has now been caught stealing 10 times.
Deduno (8-7, 3.69) was finished after the sixth and received the win, his first against the Indians this season. He allowed one earned run on three hits and four walks while striking out six.
Brian Duensing and Casey Fien pitched the final three innings, scattering three hits along the way.
The Twins and Indians will play game two of the series Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Zach McAllister (6-7, 3.59) will look to win his third straight start against right-hander Liam Hendricks (0-1, 3.94).
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.
Bunting our 3 guy, kipnis, after 2 straight walks and no outs was the worst move I've seen in years.