Indians survive another shaky Perez outing, win 6-5
MINNEAPOLIS -- After Chris Perez suffered a second implosion in as many outings, Joe Smith struck out Oswaldo Arcia to end Minnesota's ninth inning rally as the Cleveland Indians beat the Twins 6-5 Thursday night.
With the win, the Indians maintain their position in the American League wild-card race. Texas stayed within a game of Cleveland after a walkoff home run by Jurickson Profar.
Perez came on in the ninth to get some work with a 6-1 lead, but made mop-up duty into a save situation.
After Eduardo Escobar blooped a single to left and advanced to second on indifference, Alex Presley tripled to deep center, drawing the score to 6-2. After a ground out to third scored another run, Ryan Doumit reached on another single. After Perez recorded another out, he surrendered a two-run homer to Josmil Pinto, bringing the Twins within one run. Joe Smith, working around a single and a walk, came on to save the game.
Minnesota starter Andrew Albers (2-5, 4.05) last won against Cleveland on August 12 when he pitched a two-hit shutout, but he has struggled since. He kept the Tribe bats in check through the first three innings, but struggled after the first time through the lineup.
Ryan Raburn opened the fourth inning with a single and advanced to second on a balk. Asdrubal Cabrera then put down a sacrifice bunt but an error allowed Raburn to score and Cabrera to reach first safely. Yan Gomes put the Indians up 3-0 with a towering, two-run homer to left.
Albers exited the game after loading the bases in the top of the sixth, but was charged with another run after Michael Brantley hit an opposite-field single to left. In all, Albers allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits and two walks.
Brantley had three hits and two RBIs from the leadoff spot. He is just the fifth player since 2000 with four straight games with three hits and an RBI.
Bryan Shaw (7-3, 3.24) picked up the victory in relief of Zach McAllister, recording five outs over the fifth and sixth innings. Shaw is 5-0 in 13 September appearances and hasn't allowed a run in 15.1 innings.
McAllister left the game with a shutout intact despite working with runners on in every inning. After a walk and a single with one out in the fifth, Shaw came on and induced an inning-ending double play.
McAllister gave up six hits and two walks while striking out three. He made just 68 pitches, his second fewest this season.
The teams will play the second game on Friday night at 8:10 p.m. The Indians will start right-hander Corey Kluber(10-5, 3.61) against lefty Pedro Hernandez (3-2, 6.05). Kluber has won a career-best four straight decisions.
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.
The one thing I liked about Perez as a closer was he did seem to good at forgetting a bad outing and not dwelling on it. Didn't seem to let anything get to him...
But this year...whole different story. Quite Twitter..which I mean I can understand, but was out of character for Perez. And now just seems to look so dejected on the mound. He doesn't look like he's having fun out there...and that is not good.
Perez has pitched his last game ever here. I imagine he's in a very fragile mental state right now, I feel for him but....we just can't trust him out there at this point.
Shaw-Smith-Allen in the 7-8-9 gives me a lot of confidence. Perez and Pestano can't be on postseason roster if we get there.