Cleveland Indians reach 100 wins for third time in franchise history with 5-2 victory over Twins
CLEVELAND -- For just the third time in franchise history, the Cleveland Indians have won 100 games in a season.
Behind a standout performance from starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco and two-run home runs from center fielder Jason Kipnis and catcher Roberto Perez, the Indians (100-59) earned a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins (83-76) at Progressive Field Thursday.
The Indians won 100 games in 1995 and a franchise-record 111 in 1954. In both of those seasons, the Indians went on to win the American League pennant.
On the way to his 18th win of the season, which drew him into a tie with Corey Kluber for the team lead, Carrasco scattered six hits and one walk over 8.1 innings of work, and struck out a season-high 14 Twins hitters. It was Carrasco’s fifth double-digit strikeout performance of the season and 15th of his Major League career.
In the first inning, Carrasco allowed a two-out walk to shortstop Jorge Polanco, and despite letting the runner advance to second base on a wild pitch, he gathered himself and struck out first baseman Kennys Vargas swinging to end the frame.
After a leadoff single from right fielder Max Kepler in the top of the second inning, Carrasco got designated hitter Robbie Grossman to ground into a fielder’s choice, and then, registered back-to-back swinging strikeouts from catcher Jason Castro and left fielder Mitch Garver.
In the fifth inning, Carrasco worked around a leadoff single, and later, a two-out hit that put runners on the corners. Carrasco earned the three outs with swinging third strikes, which gave him a new single-season career best for strikeouts (226).
After allowing a leadoff single in the top of the sixth inning, Carrasco induced a 3-6 double play, and then, struck out Kepler for the final out of the frame.
The Indians struggled to string together hits and could not push across a run against Twins starting pitcher Ervin Santana, but when he exited the game after five innings, the two-time defending American League Central Division champions went to work in front of the home fans.
By fouling off two pitches after getting down in the count, 1-2, against Twins reliever Trevor Hildenberger, Lindor kept the leadoff at-bat alive and went on to hit a sinking fastball to the wall in left-center field for a double.
With the leadoff double, Lindor joined fellow infielder Jose Ramirez with 80 extra-base hits on the season, a first for the Indians since outfielders Albert Belle and Manny Ramirez achieved the feat in 1996.
With Lindor in scoring position, Kipnis turned on a 2-1 pitch and rocketed the ball into the seats in right field for a two-run home run. The 366-foot blast was Kipnis’ 12th of the season and gave the Indians a 2-0 lead over the Twins.
The Indians doubled their lead to 4-0 when Perez took a pitch from Twins reliever Alan Busenitz just over the wall in right field for his eighth home run of the season. Perez’s blast drove in reserve outfielder Greg Allen, who reached on a one-out bunt single down the third-base line.
The Indians tacked on an insurance run when right fielder Jay Bruce belted his 35th home run of the season into the right-field seats in the bottom of the eighth inning. The 35 home runs mark a new career high for Bruce, who has hit six round-trippers since joining the Indians through a trade with the New York Mets on August 9.