Twins blank Tribe 3-0 as rookie Albers tosses a shutout
Rookie southpaw allows just two hits as Indians drop another
MINNEAPOLIS—Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver once said, “The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals and three run homers.”
The Minnesota Twins had all three working Monday night, as great defense, brilliant pitching and three runs all coming via the home run easily shutout the Indians, 3-0.
Making just his second start in the major leagues, rookie Andrew Albers(2-0, 0.00 ERA) was almost perfect through nine shutout innings surrendering two hits to the struggling Tribe offense. The southpaw threw 76 of his 102 pitches for strikes, keeping Cleveland hitters off-balance the entire night.
With his second win in as many starts, Albers still has yet to allow a run in his first 17 1/3 big league innings.
Cleveland (63-56) drops to 1-7 in their last eight games with the loss, also falling to third place as the red hot Kansas City Royals jumped over the struggling Tribe into second place in the American League Central. Staying seven games in back of the Detroit Tigers, the team also remains 4 1/2 games out of the last wild card spot.
Minnesota struck for the game's first run in the very first inning on second baseman Brian Dozier's twelfth homer of the year off Indians rookie Danny Salazar (1-1, 4.08 ERA). Unlike his first two previous starts, the flame-thowing Salazar looked a little tired from his start against Detroit, struggling with command issues for the first time in his big league career.
The Twins added two more runs in the second inning on another long ball, this time a two-run homer by third baseman Trevor Plouffe. Those three runs on four hits was all last place team needed, as the night belonged to the Canadian native Albers. The lone two hits for Cleveland in the ballgame came off the bats of Jason Kipnis in the fourth and Yan Gomes in the eighth.
Lasting just four innings, Salazar allowed three runs on three his while also walking three and striking out five in the ballgame. Notching 22 strikeouts in his first 17 2/3 innings in the major leagues, the 23-year old has already given up four long balls on the year.
Things just haven’t gone in the Indians favor at Target Field, as the team have not only dropped six of their last seven at the ballpark, but nine of their last 11 as well. It doesn’t get any easier for Cleveland either, as they are scheduled to play the Twins six more times in the Twin Cities, including the last four games they play to close out the 2013 season.
The Tribe will look to get back on track Tuesday in the middle game of the three-game series, as Zach McAllister(4-7, 3.90 ERA) takes the hill against Minnesota right-hander Sam Deduno (7-5, 3.38 ERA). McAllister is 0-3 lifetime against the Twins with a 8.00 ERA.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at email@example.com.