Indians clobber Twins 12-6, inch closer to playoff berth
MINNEAPOLIS -- Jason Kipnis fell a home run short of the cycle and the Cleveland lineup had 17 hits as the Indians beat the Minnesota Twins 12-6 Friday night.
With the win and Tampa Bay's loss at Toronto, the Indians are now tied with the Rays for the two American League wild-card spots. Texas remains one game out after beating Los Angeles. Cleveland has won eight straight and 13 of 15, taking advantage of a schedule that ends with 10 games against the three worst teams in the AL this season.
The Indians jumped out to a big lead early, picking up four runs in the first inning and three more in the second.
After Nick Swisher doubled with one out in the first, Kipnis tripled to right-center. Carlos Santana followed with a double and later scored on another double by Asdrubal Cabrera. Yan Gomesdrove home Cabrera with an opposite-field single to right, putting the Indians up 4-0.
With runners on first and third and no outs in the bottom of the second, Swisher grounded into a double play, scoring Drew Stubbs from third. The Indians responded with three more hits, including a two-RBI single by Ryan Raburn, extending the Tribe lead to 7-0.
Six of the seven runs were charged to Twins starter Pedro Hernandez (3-3, 6.83), who lasted just one and two-thirds innings.
By the time the second inning was over, the Indians had four doubles and a triple with the first seven hitters in the lineup notching at least one hit.
The Indians plated two more in the fifth off reliever Liam Hendricks when Mike Aviles hit a two-out, two-RBI single to right, scoring Santana and Cabrera. Both Santana and Cabrera finished with two double apiece and scored a combined five runs.
Hendricks surrendered another three runs in the eighth and ninth innings. In the eighth, Kipnis drove home Stubbs on a double to deep center. Stubbs hit a two-run homer in the ninth, his 10th of the season, to make the score 12-6.
Stubbs finished 2-for-4 with a homer, two RBIs, a walk, and three runs scored. He also stole his 17th base of the season in the eighth.
Cleveland starter Corey Kluber (11-5, 3.85) won his fifth straight decision. He started the game with three scoreless innings, but allowed 10 of the next 16 hitters to reach and was pulled from the game with one out in the sixth. Kluber gave up six earned runs on 10 hits and a walk while striking out five.
Five Tribe relievers combined to hold the Twins scoreless over the final three and two-thirds innings. Justin Masterson made his second relief appearance in the eighth, striking out three and walking one. He is working his way back from a strained left oblique that sidelined him for three weeks.
The Indians will look to win their ninth game in a row against the Twins on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. Lefty Scott Kazmir(9-9, 4.14) will take the mound for Cleveland against right-hander Cole De Vries (0-1, 11.70).
Notes: If the Indians win on Saturday combined with a Rangers loss, they will clinch a wildcard berth. ... No matter what happens on Saturday, homefield for the wildcard game will not be determined until Sunday.
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.