The Indians scored six runs in the first inning, two more in the fifth and barely hung on to defeat the Twins on Saturday night because the bullpen proved once again to be unstable. "We had some highs and some lows," said Indians manager Terry Francona, when asked about the bullpen. "Fortunately, the highs won out and we went home happy." The Indians' 8-7 victory in front of 21,417 at Progressive Field was their fourth straight and eighth in their past 10 games. But until Vinnie Pestano threw a 3-2 slider past pinch-hitter Josh Willingham to end it in the ninth inning, the outcome was in doubt. "The season hasn't been anything but challenging for me so far," said Pestano, who earned his third save since replacing injured closer Chris Perez on May 27. "I've taken my lumps and my bruises. It's been the most difficult that I can recall in quite some time, but with that being said, we won the game." Pestano entered the ninth with an 8-5 lead. Justin Morneau, after a long at-bat, hit a leadoff double for the Twins. He came around to score on a fly ball and Oswaldo Arcia's RBI grounder. Pestano was one out away from ending things, but Chris Parmelee hit his second homer of the night to make it 8-7. Brian Dozier walked to bring power-hitter Willingham off the bench. Willingham couldn't pull the trigger on Pestano's slider for the third strike. "I usually throw a lot of fastballs to him," said Pestano. "I threw a good one to him Friday night. I just figured he'd be on the fastball." The Twins, who hit four homers in the game, started their power display early. Joe Mauer, the second batter of the game, hit a 429-foot, two-run homer to stagger Corey Kluber. The Indians came back to knock P.J. Walters out of the game by scoring six runs in their half of the first. "There were some of those at-bats where he threw four straight balls, but in some of them we showed good patience to extend the inning," said Francona. Down, 2-0, before they touched a bat, the Indians came back quickly. After Michael Bourn drew a leadoff walk and Mike Aviles was hit by a pitch, Jason Kipnis brought them home with a double to left to tie the score. Kipnis went double, single and triple in his first three at-bats. It was his eighth multihit game this month. Walters (2-3, 4.88) retired Michael Brantley on a fly ball to center, but issued walks to the next three batters: Carlos Santana, Mark Reynolds and Jason Giambi. The walk to Giambi forced home Kipnis for a lead the Indians never lost.
Indians score six in first and hang on to beat Twins, 8-7
Cleveland Plain Dealer | Jun 23