Second-inning outburst not enough
After Sizemore's homer, Twins chip away before busting out
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians' bullpen has let down the club time and time again this season. On Saturday, it spoiled a milestone of the team's star center fielder.Grady Sizemore's 100th career home run, a three-run shot in the second inning off Twins starter Kevin Slowey, was for naught in Saturday's 9-6 Cleveland loss against Minnesota due to the Tribe's most recent bullpen letdown. "It's tough," Sizemore said. "Obviously we aren't playing our best. Guys are playing hard; we just aren't finding ways to win." The Twins jumped to an early lead by taking advantage of wildness by Indians starter Aaron Laffey. After securing the first two outs in the first inning, Laffey walked Joe Mauer and then hit Justin Morneau with a pitch. Craig Monroe made him pay by drilling a two-run double off the right-field baggie. The Tribe bounced back in the second by also taking advantage of control issues. Slowey, who had allowed only nine walks in 72 2/3 innings entering the day, issued two free passes in the frame. Shin-Soo Choo led off with a walk and was doubled home two batters later by David Dellucci. Slowey then walked Kelly Shoppach before allowing an RBI single to Andy Marte. With Marte and Shoppach on, Sizemore drove a 2-2 fastball 389 feet over the right-center-field wall, giving Cleveland a 5-2 lead. But with the way the Indians' bullpen has been pitching, no lead can be considered safe. Cleveland entered the game with the worst bullpen ERA (5.03) in the Majors. By contrast, the Tribe's starters entered the day seventh in the big leagues with a 3.91 ERA despite injuries to Fausto Carmona and Jake Westbrook. And sure enough, the lead wouldn't hold. The Twins chipped away at the deficit against Laffey with a run in each the fourth and fifth innings, but Minnesota seized control of the game in the sixth. Tom Mastny came on in relief of Laffey to start the inning and began by inducing a Nick Punto groundout. But it was downhill for Cleveland from there. Mastny walked the speedy No. 9 hitter, Denard Span, and surrendered a bunt hit to Carlos Gomez on a close play at first. Alexi Casilla followed with a two-run double to right field. Mastny intentionally walked Mauer before exiting for Rafael Perez. The lefty labored before escaping the inning, walking two and giving up a bases-loaded, two-run single to Brendan Harris. The five-run frame gave the Twins a 9-5 lead. Mastny was charged with four earned runs while only securing one out. He appeared frustrated after the Gomez bunt. "It was a big play," Mastny said. "I don't know if he was safe or out, I thought he was out. ... Two outs right there, it changes the momentum of the inning. I really think that was the play, not the walk, that led to the big inning."
|"It's tough. Obviously we aren't playing our best. Guys are playing hard; we just aren't finding ways to win."|
|-- Grady Sizemore|
Thor Nystrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.