MINNEAPOLIS – For the Indians it was a cornucopia of runs. For most other teams in the major leagues, it would simply be recorded as a two-pass inning.
However, those two runs in the seventh inning were enough to give the Indians a 3-1 win over the Twins in the first game of a double header at Target Field on Tuesday.
Rookie right-handed Triston McKenzie (5-6, 4.28) allowed a six innings run for the win. He is 3-2 with a 1.76 ERA (nine runs earned in 46 innings) in his last seven starts since August 5. He canceled 48 and ran five on this route.
The Indians entered the seventh draw, 1: 1. Harold Ramirez single and Bradley Zimmer went one out against Danny Coulombe (3-2). Austin Hedges doubled up Ramirez home, sending Zimmer to third place. Third baseman Luis Arraez couldn’t move Yu Chang’s bouncer to third when Zimmer scored a goal. The game was originally rated with a bug but changed to give Chang a hit and RBI.
Emmanuel Clase threw the ninth for his 23rd save in 27 chances.
Twins rookie right-handed Joe Ryan left the game in sixth after being hit by a line drive in the hand of Myles Straw. Ryan went straight to the dugout as soon as he was hit and fired his glove into the dugout in anger when his second duel with the Indians and McKenzie ended in frustration in as many starts.
A base hit was attributed to Straw, but the Indians failed to score it. Jorge Alcala relieved Ryan and knocked out Amed Rosario on a bouncer in front of the record when Straw finished second. Alcala withdrew Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes – the heart of the Order – after a flyball and strikeout. Ramirez and Reyes came into play in a combined 5-for-56 break-in.
The Twins fueled McKenzie in game six when Josh Donaldson opened the inning with a pinch-hit double from the wall in the center left. McKenzie, however, retired the next three thugs to strand Donaldson and hold the score.
Hedges said the key to leaving the inning was a quick out against Arraez, the next batter.
“We have Arraez coming and it’s going to be an uphill battle,” said Hedges. “The game plan against him is to get him out as quickly as possible. He can have 10 to 15 pitch at bats and if that were the case, Triston would probably have gotten out. “
McKenzie pulled Arraez back to the center on a first pitch liner. He finished the inning by beating Byron Buxton on three fields and bringing the dangerous Jorge Polanco into the center with a flyball on the first field.
“We stayed with the schedule,” said McKenzie. “We made them get the ball into play and force the guys behind me to play games.”
Zimmer put the Indians in a 1-1 draw with a 451-foot homer with an out in the fifth. Zimmer drove Ryan’s 1: 1 pitch to the upper deck in the middle right. The ball left Zimmer’s racket at 113.4 mph. It was Zimmer’s seventh homer of the season, a bit behind the career-high eight hit in 2017 as a rookie. This season he owns the two longest homers by any Indian player – 465 and 471 feet.
“I wish I could have a camera with me,” McKenzie said, “because when he hits balls, they go that far. I’m so excited about the shelter. “
The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the third game when catcher Ben Rortvedt played with an out and met on a double from Andrelton Simmons that left outfield Harold Ramirez missed. Simmons lined the ball to Ramirez’s right. Trying to cut it off, he slipped and fell as the ball hit the outfield wall.
Ramirez recovered quickly and the relay throw almost knocked Rortvedt on the plate. The Indians challenged Plate Umpire Mike Estabrook for the safe call, but after a check the call was on the field.
Ryan allowed a run on three hits in five innings. This time the Indians were in no danger of falling victim to a perfect game, as Harold Ramirez doubled in the second half with two failures.
The Indians, who had a day off on Monday, come off a terrible 1-6 homestand where they lost three out of four to the twins and were swept up by the NL Central leading Brewers. On the way they were not met by Corbin Burnes and Josh Hader from Milwaukee and only met once by Ryan and three helpers.
To say they played better is an understatement. Saying they look like a team playing the string is a matter of discussion. In the seven games they had a total of 10 runs and were excluded three times. That is why these two runs were so great in the seventh.
“Milwaukee presented us very well,” said acting manager DeMarlo Hale. “You made 24 runs on our four runs in a three game series. It’s not a good recipe. Today the two pitchers (McKenzie and Ryan) had a pretty good fight. Sometimes you fight a little in this game, but these guys keep fighting and that’s what I like about them.
The start on Tuesday was the second round for McKenzie and Ryan. McKenzie lost 3-0 in progressive field on September 8th. He pitched six innings and allowed a run with three hits. McKenzie cut seven and went one.
Ryan, meanwhile, was eliminated in his second start in the big league for 19 years in a row before Rosario was eliminated in seventh with one. He threw seven goalless innings with four strikeouts and one hit.
Next up: RHP Cal Quantrill (5-3, 3:04) vs. RHP Griffin Jax in the second game of the day-night double headers on Tuesday. Game time is set for 7:40 p.m. FS1 will play the second game of the double-headed ball. WTAM will carry the series.
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