The home run ball was very, very good to the Cleveland Indians in the second game of their doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis, and those long balls propelled them into sole possession of first place in the American League Central Division.
The Indians belted three home runs, and all six of their runs came via those round-trippers in a 6-2 win over the Twins in the nightcap of a doubleheader, which was delayed by torrential rains that blanketed the Twin Cities for more than an hour.
With the win and the doubleheader sweep, the Indians (35-31) took a one-game lead over the Twins (34-32) in the Central Division standings, and improved to 20-14 away from Progressive Field this season. The Indians won their sixth straight game at Minnesota this season, their longest such streak against the Twins since the 1968-1969 seasons when the franchise played at Metropolitan Stadium in nearby Bloomington.
Down 1-0 after the Twins got a run on an RBI double from first baseman Joe Mauer in the bottom of the third inning, the Indians went to work in the top half of the fourth.
With one out in the inning, center fielder Austin Jackson smashed a 1-1 pitch from Twins starter Adalberto Mejia over the wall in left field, which tied the game, but it would not stay that way for long. Two batters after Jackson’s blast, right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall socked an 0-2 pitch into the seats in right field for the go-ahead run.
The Indians never trailed again.
After the rain delay, the Indians went right back to work offensively.
Following a lead-off walk to first baseman Carlos Santana to start the top of the sixth inning, who worked the free pass after being down in the count, 0-2, Jackson reached safely on a bunt single down the third-base line.
Following a strikeout of catcher Yan Gomes, Chisenhall stepped into the batter’s box and swatted a 2-1 offering from Twins reliever Tyler Duffey over the wall in right field. Chisenhall’s second blast of the game drove in both Santana and Jackson.
Although Twins second baseman Brian Dozier launched a solo home run to left field off of Indians reliever Nick Goody in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Indians got that run back in the top of the eighth when shortstop Francisco Lindor hit a solo homer of his own to right.
Lindor’s 13th home run of the season brings him within one of designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion (14) for the team lead.
Chisenhall has driven in two or more runs in three of his last four games and totaled at least four RBI in two of his last three outings.
While he did not factor into the decision because of the rain delay, Indians starter Mike Clevinger allowed just two hits, one earned run and one walk against four strikeouts over four innings of work against the Twins.
Goody picked up his first victory of the season after allowing just one run and one hit over 1.2 innings of work, and both Boone Logan and Cody Allen picked up holds before turning the game over to left-hander Andrew Miller for the ninth inning.