The Twins lost the series finale to the Indians 7-5 after taking both games of the doubleheader the day before. Leaving Cleveland with a 4.5-game lead in the division was the goal and that is exactly what was done. In a game with Randy Dobnak starting, Kyle Gibson coming from the bullpen and a better lineup sitting on the bench, the Twins did a fine job.
Image courtesy of FanGraphs
Donnak: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 61% strikes (45 of 74 pitches)
Bullpen: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K
Home Runs: Sano (29), Rosario (30, 31), Wade jr (1)
Multi-Hit Games: Sano (2-for-5), Cave (2-for-5), Rosario (3-for-5)
Top 3 WPA: Rosario (.207), Wade Jr.. (.182), Harper (.060)
Bottom 3 WPA: Gibson (-.402), Romero (-.245), Sano (-.099)
Randy Dobnak out duels Shane Bieber
The Twins pulled Jose Berrios and replaced him with Randy Dobnak to pitch the third game of this extremely important series ... and it worked! Dobnak went five innings and gave up two runs (one earned) while Bieber went 5 2/3 innings giving up four runs.
This was the third straight game for the Twins that was started by someone who shouldn’t be starting important potential season-deciding games in September but here we are with a strong division lead. Rocco also decided to roll out the strangest lineup because what the hell, the division is locked up.
Twins and Indians exchange offensive blows
The Indians started the game off rolling by loading the bases and running a Kipnis grounder into a fielders choice that scored two runs. This was largely due to a throwing error by Ronald Torreyes. Who woulda thought we’d be missing Polanco on defense, am I right?
The Twins would answer with three home runs to no one’s surprise. A solid shot from Sano and a solo from Rosario was followed by a two-run bomb from LaMonte Wade Jr. for his first career home run. He ditched his usually patient approach and jumped early on Bieber for the bomb.
The Indians answered in the sixth with a three-run home run off the bat of Roberto Perez. For some reason this was off of starting pitcher Kyle Gibson. He came in to replace Fernando Romero after he let a couple guys on, so obviously the Twins did not intend on using their best weapons. The Twins were down 6-4 heading to the seventh inning.
Eddie Rosario didn’t like that so he hit another home run to cut the lead to one and he certainly is heating up after taking a lot of heat from the fans. Hopefully he is entering one of his hot streaks heading into October.
The jabs continued as Mike Freeman pushed the lead to 7-5 on an RBI single against Kyle Gibson. It is safe to say the Gibson bullpen experiment did not work today.
Indians bullpen finishes off the game
After the dust settled it was the Indians who came out on top after many offensive hits from each team in the middle innings of the game. James Hoyt had a clean eighth inning and then Hoyt came back out for the ninth. He started with a walk to Luis Arraez, but he was able to strike out Sano and Cave swinging. The lefty Oliver Perez came in to face Eddie Rosario for the final out and got him to pop out.
Twins lead falls to 4.5 games over the Indians
The Twins basically just had to go 3-3 over these last six against the Nationals and Indians and they did exactly that. Now moving on to thirteen games against the White Sox, Royals and Tigers, a 4.5-game lead looks like the division has been won (don’t kill me in the comments). The Twins stepped up this series despite a loss in the final game. Leaving Cleveland after helping end the Indians' season was a lot of fun.