A disappointing summer shifted into the stinging Cleveland autumn, as the Indians played 12 innings into the night and lost a heartbreaker to the Twins 6-5.
Assuming, of course, hearts in northeast Ohio were still in tact before last night.
Under the lights and in front of a smattering of a few thousand fans, the Tribe was given a golden opportunity in extra innings and threw it away.
With the score deadlocked at four and the crowd reduced to individual screaming, the Indians found themselves with runners on the corners and no outs. Jason Kipnis stood 90 feet away from scoring the winning run with the team’s RBI leader, Carlos Santana coming to bat.
Santana is no “Casey” at the bat, but like Casey, he failed to drive the run home.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire opted to intentionally walk Michael Brantley, loading the bases. What followed were two quick outs from Russ Canzler and Lonnie Chisenhall, and the game pressed on.
Matt LaPorta pinch-hit for Casey Kotchman in the 11th inning. Kotchman, the superior defenseman, was pulled for an offensive punch that did not pan out (LaPorta grounded to third). The switch on defense would prove fatal.
For an inning later, with a man on second and two outs, Alexi Casilla hit a bouncing ball in the hole between first and second base.
Defensive miscue costs Indians the game
LaPorta briefly gave chase but held up, and assumed the ball would go to the outfield. He turned back towards the infield, unaware that behind him, Kipnis snagged the ball on a dead run and was ready to throw on to first for the inning ending groundout.
Instead, LaPorta was nowhere near the bag, and stumbled towards first catching the ball from Kipnis. The play wasn’t even close and Casilla was safe with a single.
But the play didn’t end there–Darin Mastroianni, sensing LaPorta’s confusion, never stopped running and headed towards the plate.
LaPorta was slow in reacting, again, and made a weak throw home, pulling Santana off the plate enough to score the go-ahead run.
Two singles from Jamey Carroll and Pedro Florimon provided another insurance run.
Santana kept the hopes alive in the bottom of the frame, homering with two outs to bring the game within one. But Brantley, though intentionally walked his previous time up, struck out to end the game.
- The Tribe went 1-13 with runners in scoring position.
- P.J. Walters, with a 6.39 ERA, only gave up two earned runs in his start for the Twins.
- The Indians set a new franchise record with 10 different pitchers Tuesday night: David Huff, Chris Seddon, Frank Herrmann, Cody Allen, Scott Barnes, Vinnie Pestano, Chris Perez, Joe Smith, Esmil Rogers and Scott Maine.
- Every starter in the lineup for the Tribe got a hit.
AL Central Scores for September 18, 2012
Chicago White Sox @ Kansas City Royals: 3-2
Oakland Athletics @ Detroit Tigers: 12-2
Minnesota Twins @ Cleveland Indians: 6-5 (12 innings)
AL Central Standings for September 19, 2012
Chicago White Sox:..81-66….0 games back
Detroit Tigers:……….78-69….3.0 games back
Kansas City Royals:.66-81…15.0 games back
Cleveland Indians……61-87….20.5 games back
Minnesota Twins:…….61-87….20.5 games back
AL Central Schedule for September 19, 2012
Minnesota Twins @ Cleveland Indians – 7:05 p.m.
Oakland Athletics @ Detroit Tigers – 7:05 p.m.
Chicago White Sox @ Kansas City Royals – 8:10 p.m.
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Can the Indians bounce back tonight against the Twins? Leave your thoughts below in the comment section!