Player of the Game
Scott Kazmir threw seven innings tonight, giving up just one run on five hits. He earned the win as the Indians were able to score two runs before he was removed from the game. He ended up striking out seven, most of which came late in the game when he struck out batters for five of his last six outs. The award is Kazmir's third and the Indians starters have been on quite a roll during their recent series win streak. Six of the last nine Players of the Game were starting pitchers, a group that now includes all five starters once and Corey Kluber twice.
In the bottom of the third with the Indians up 1-0, Drew Stubbs was able make it 2-0 when he scored from second on a sacrifice fly to the second baseman. Brian Dozier lost control of the ball on the transfer, making it easy for Stubbs to score, but he would have came home either way as Dozier had his back to home plate. This marks the second time this year that Stubbs has scored on a sacrifice fly to the second baseman. His type of speed has been missing from the team for the past few years and this is an example of a run the Indians would not have scored without that speed.
Scott Kazmir didn't have a magnificent game by any means, but he improved mightily on his previous starts, especially his last when he didn't make it out of the third inning. Kazmir gave up four extra base hits of his five hits allowed, but didn't walk anybody and was able to limit the damage done by the hits by not giving up anything for free. The only Twins run scored on a solo home run, but after giving up three last game, this has to be seen as a huge improvement.
The Indians had some late offense in them tonight, as Mark Reynolds, Chisenhall and Drew Stubbs started the seventh by getting on base and lead to three runs scored. Reynolds scored on the Stubbs single after which a Michael Bourn fielder's choice eliminated Stubbs. Chisenhall was replaced by John McDonald and both base runners scored on a Jason Kipnis single. Of course, one draw back of this was that Joe Smith's hold opportunity and Vinnie Pestano's save were taken away by the extra runs, but I'm sure they didn't mind the insurance.
Mark Reynolds cost the Indians a possible run (not that they needed any more) in the second inning when he beat the throw to second for a double, but was tagged out after coming off the base. The hit was counted as an RBI single, but there was just one out beforehand and Lonnie Chisenhall singled in the next at bat. Who knows what kind of damage the Indians could have done to Samuel Deduno early in the game had he stayed on the base.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 5 – Minnesota Twins 1