The Indians now have sole possession of last place and are at risk of finishing dead last in the Central Division for the first time since the American League re-aligned into three divisions. Zach McAllister struggled again and the offense didn't manage a whole lot as the Twins beat the Indians for the 12th time this season. Liam Hendriks picked up his first Major League victory, adding yet another frustrating, disappointing footnote to a season full of them.
Asdrubal Cabrera put the Indians on the board first after Zach McAllister stranded two runners on base in the first. After a long fly ball from Shin-Soo Choo died in center field to start the game, Cabrera squared one up and pulled it out of the ballpark with two outs to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. It was Cabrera's 15th home run of the season and his first since August 24.
The lead held up until the third, when McAllister ran into trouble. Denard Span doubled to lead off the inning and Jamey Carroll followed with an infield single to shortstop, where Span was forced to stay at second. Joe Mauer followed with a laser single to center on a double steal that scored Span and nearly scored Carroll, if not for a late stop sign from the Twins third base coach. Josh Willingham followed with another single to put the Twins ahead 2-1. It looked like the bottom might fall in for McAllister, but he induced a ground ball double play from Justin Morneau to get out of the inning.
Vinny Rottino manufactured a run for the Indians in the bottom of the third. He walked following a lenghty at bat to lead off the inning and then stole second. On a Choo grounder to short, Rottino waited for Pedro Florimon to throw across before taking off for third. He made it in before the tag and then scored on a Kipnis single to tie the game at two.
The game stayed that way until the fifth. Following a one out walk from Mauer, Willingham hit a towering two-run bomb to left to make it a 4-2 game. McAllister exited stage right after the bomb, going just 4.1 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. Chris Seddon entered and allowed another run after loading the bases with a walk and a couple of singles. Chris Herrmann registered his first Major League RBI with a fielder's choice to make it a 5-2 ballgame. Willingham would add another insurance run in the sixth on a RBI single.
The Indians got off the mat in the eighth, scoring two runs to get back in the ballgame, but failed with the go-ahead run at the plate. Rottino began the inning with a double and scored on Kipnis's single. Brent Lillibridge, who entered the game for Cabrera, singled to push Kipnis into scoring position and then Michael Brantley knocked in Kipnis with a base hit. Travis Hafner, in his first game off the DL, struck out swinging to end the inning and keep it a 6-4 deficit.
Glen Perkins entered and shut the door for the Twins, as the Indians were held to just four hits on the night.
With the loss, the Indians fell to 61-88, while the Twins are one game better at 62-87. Zach McAllister pitched poorly against the Twins again, losing his eighth game of the season. Against the Twins in 2012, McAllister is now 0-3 with 15 runs allowed in 9 innings of work. Liam Hendriks picked up his first Major League win in 18 tries. Glen Perkins now has
Stat of the Night: Up until tonight, Liam Hendriks was just the fifth pitcher since 1920 to have gone winless in his first 17 starts.
Player of the Game: Josh Willingham. 4-for-5, a HR, and 4 RBI. He plays for us, right? No? Oh, yeah, that's right, we didn't sign him this past offseason.
Tomorrow's Game: The Indians will try to avoid a sweep with a daytime matinee with Corey Kluber on the hill against Esmerling Vasquez at 12:05.