CLEVELAND – On a night when things easily could have went the other way, the Indians pitching staff did enough and the offense scrapped out a single run to top the always seemingly always tough Minnesota Twins 1-0 in 10 innings.
The win keeps the Tribe 4.5 ahead of the Tigers in the AL Central, and the Kansas City Royals are still 5.5 back in the race for the divisional top spot.
The Twins outhit the Indians 9-8, and their best chance to score came in the 10th, when Cody Allen gave up two walks and a single to load the bases with two outs.
Zach McAllister entered and got his biggest out of the season, as he got Max Kepler, who dominated the Indians in the last series at Progressive Field, to fly out to end the frame.
The Indians got the only run of the night in the bottom of the 10th, as Abraham Almonte laid down a perfect bunt to start the frame, and then Chris Gimenez after failing to get a bunt down, singled to put runners on first and second.
After a fielders choice by Rajai Davis eliminated Almonte at third, Jason Kipnis sealed the win with a single that scored Gimenez with the only run of the game.
“We talk about it all the time you want to be one run better,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Trevor Bauer, who the Twins beat up bad the last time they faced him at Progressive Field, was solid in the start for the Indians, as he went six shutout innings, allowing five hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
It was the ninth time in his career that Bauer was able to go at least six innings without allowing a run, and it was the fourth time he got zero run support in a start
Overall Bauer has an ERA of 2.45 (9ER/33.0IP) over his last five outings.
“Trev did a great job,” Francona said. “You get to a point in a game where you’re starting to go hitter to hitter, so that doesn’t make sense so we said let’s get (Andrew) Miller into the game.”
Bauer was able to hold the big three of the Twins order who beat up all Indians pitchers in the last series in check Monday night, as Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer and Kepler went a combined 2-for-13.
“One of those things that happens during a year, where a team hits everything,” Bauer said of the Twins harking back to the last series against them.
“That’s a credit to them, so to be able to limit them, limit the offense and get off to a good start in the series, especially after the road trip we had, it’s definitely big.
The pen deserves a ton of credit for holding the Twins down. Andrew Miller pitched 1.1 innings, Bryan Shaw recorded two outs, Allen went 1.2 innings, and McAllister, who gets the win, got the final out in the 10th.
It was a good night for the pitching staff as the offense continues to scuffle, but at least for one night that didn’t matter for a bullpen that has gone 13.2 straight shutout innings over the last four games.
Tuesday the same two teams go at it at 7:10, as Josh Tomlin (11-8, 4.70) goes for the Tribe against Andrew Albers (0-0, 4.32) for the Twins.