Player of the Game
Despite being in just about constant trouble from doubles and errors, Scott Kazmir managed to expertly navigate today's start, allowing just a single run on a surprise bunt in the fifth inning. Kazmir was visibly tiring in the late innings, but still managed to strike out the last batter he faced, one of eight total Twins struck out. He did allow seven hits, but a lot of pop outs near the infield and timely strike outs allowed him to limit the scoring.
The Indians certainly enjoy their two out scoring chances and they used another to score the first run of today's game. With two outs and Michael Bourn on first, Nick Swisher walked and Jason Kipnis singled to score Bourn. While this may seem like a clutch hit, the opposite view holds that it should have been a huge inning, but because the batters starting off the inning are batting near .200 a single that should have been in the middle of a rally turns out to be the only one that knocks in a run.
Drew Stubbs came through for the Tribe in the eighth, once he finally got a Twins pitcher to throw him a strike. Stubbs walked in each of his first three at bats, but didn't do anything on the basepaths, largely due to Michael Bourn going 0-3 in at bats following a Stubbs walk. In the eighth however, Stubbs hit a two out solo home run to right field to give the Indians a lead. This was enough to get Bourn started as well as he hit a hustle double during the next at bat. Bourn then scored on a Swisher single to give the Indians a two run lead going into the ninth.
A botched rundown in the top of the fourth put the Indians in a really bad situation when Josh Willingham tried to advance on a ball to the short stop. Asdrubal Cabrera was credited with an error after mishandling a ball thrown by Lonnie Chisenhall and throwing wide of Scott Kazmir who was covering third. This changed what should have been a two out, runner at first situation into a one out runners at second and third situation. While the error was credited to Cabrera, it was actually Chisenhall's fault for not waiting long enough to throw the ball. He should have waited a few seconds more so Cabrera could have just tagged Willingham out. Kazmir then made the whole situation unimportant, by retiring the next two batters without allowing a run.
Overall, this was the Indians poorest defensive performance in a long while with four recorded errors and plenty of other mistakes that weren't officially recorded. The Twins pressed matters by bunting whenever possible and being active enough on the base paths to force multiple pick off attempts. This was an incredibly good strategy for the Twins to use as a light hitting team that was missing their two best hitters.
Scoreboard Watch: While the Indians did their part by winning the series against Minnesota, they still lose a game as the Tigers completed a sweep of the Mets today. They will go on to play Oakland tomorrow as the Indians have a day off. On a better note, the Athletics were decimated by the Orioles, pushing the Indians to just 1.5 games behind Oakland. As they will be moving on to play Detroit, the Indians should be able to gain on either the division or the Wild Card as long as they can win the series against Atlanta.
Final Score: Cleveland Indians 3 – Minnesota Twins 1