Home runs, McAllister lift Indians over Twins 7-2
Cleveland, OH -- Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis both hit two-run home runs and Zach McAllister won for the third start in a row as the Cleveland Indians beat the Minnesota Twins 7-2 Saturday night at Progressive Field.
With the win, the Indians moved into third place in the American League Wild Card and are now 11 games over .500 on the season.
After two quick outs in the bottom of the first, Kipnis reached on a single to center and scored on Santana's two-run homer, his 16th of the season.
"Carlos' home run was really hit," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "The ballpark was playing big, but it didn't matter how much the wind was blowing on the ball Carlos hit."
Kipnis' first-inning single broke a 0-for-19 hitless streak, a stretch Kipnis was eager to see end.
"I wanted to do like Rickey Henderson--take the base and hold it up there for a second," said Kipnis after breaking through in the first.
Kipnis wasn't done. After Drew Stubbs led off the bottom of the third with a single and moved up two bases, Kipnis lined a ball 348 feet into the right field seats, putting the Indians up 4-1. The homer was Kipnis' 16th of the season as well, tying him for the team lead with Santana.
After Stubbs hit another lead off single in the fifth and Michael Bourn walked, Nick Swisher drove home both runners with a double to right-center. Swisher advanced to third on a wild pitch by Twins starter Liam Hendriks and after a line out by Kipnis, Hendriks was removed from the game. Swisher eventually scored when Michael Brantley singled off Anthony Swarzak, making the score 7-1.
All seven Indians runs were charged to Hendriks (0-2, 6.20) who surrendered seven hits and walk in four and two-thirds innings of work. He failed to strike out a batter. Hendriks' only career win came against the Indians on Sept. 19 of last season.
Swarzak and Ryan Pressly prevented further damage over the final three and two-thirds innings, scattering four base runners along the way.
McAllister (7-7, 3.51) was free and easy for the Indians, pitching with a lead for the entire game.
"It was exciting," McAllister said of working with an early lead. "It's nice to sit on the bench for as long as it takes, when these guys are putting up runs."
Brian Dozier was the only Twin with any success against McAllister, driving home a run with a sacrifice fly in the third and hitting a leadoff homer in the eighth.
In all, McAllister allowed two earned runs in seven and one-third innings, giving up just four hits and striking out five. He has won his last three starts and has posted a 3-2 record and 3.66 ERA since returning from the disabled list late in July. Against the Twins this year, McAllister is 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA.
"I think he looks like he never skipped a beat,'' Francona said. "A lot of guys come back and look tired. He's strong, and he looks really good."
Bryan Shaw came on to finish the eighth and struck out one batter. Marc Rzepczynski pitched the ninth, allowing one hit and striking out two. Rzepczynski has not allowed an earned run in 10 appearances with the Indians.
The Indians will look for the series win against the Twins in a 1:05 p.m. Sunday matchup. Scott Kazmir (7-6, 4.39) will go for the Tribe after receiving an extra day of rest. The Twins will counter with Mike Pelfrey (5-10, 5.19).
Note: Terry Francona says that the Indians hope to have OF Ryan Raburn available off the bench by Tuesday (right calf strain).
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.