Early struggles lead to loss

CLEVELAND -- Despite a furious comeback attempt in the ninth inning, the Cleveland Indians were unable to fight themselves out of the hole they dug early, and suffered a 7-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field Saturday afternoon.

Prior to the ninth inning -- when the Indians plated two runs on two hits, a walk and sacrifice fly -- they mustered only three hits against Minnesota pitchers. The lack of offense, coupled with the early struggles of starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco, resulted in an early deficit from which the Indians could not recover.

"They were able to keep stringing their at-bats together and add to that, which really hurt us," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It was five pretty quick. Then, he settled down and pitched pretty well, but the damage had been done."

The Indians (3-2) looked as though they could easily erase Minnesota's (2-3) early 3-0 lead when lead-off man Nyjer Morgan ripped a sharp single to left-center field, but he was eliminated on Nick Swisher's fielder's choice.

After Swisher's fielder's choice, just three Indians runners were able to advance to beyond second base.

Much like they did in Friday's game, the Twins got the bats rolling early.

On the second pitch of the game, second baseman Brian Dozier belted a home run off the railing over the 19-foot wall in left field. Then, two batters later, Josh Willingham drove a double to the gap in left-center field, and later came around to score on Jason Kubel's RBI single.

Twins catcher Josmil Pinto knocked in the final run of the inning with a single to right field.

"To hit a ball out to left today, you had to really, really hit it," Francona said. "So that started us off and kind of got everybody's attention. Then, it's like, 'Okay, you give up a solo homer. We're going to have to score anyway.'"

Minnesota added two runs in the top half of the third inning based largely on miscues by the Indians.

Carrasco hit the first batter of the inning, designated hitter Chris Colabello, who then went from first base to home on Trevor Plouffe's double to right-center field. Plouffe advanced to third base on a passed ball charged to Indians catcher Yan Gomes, and later in the inning, another passed ball allowed him to score.

After allowing the five runs, four of which were earned, Carrasco settled in and was able to strike out five batters over the next 3.2 innings of work. He totaled seven strikeouts in the game, and the Indians, as a whole, registered 12 for the game.

The Indians got their first run of the game when Lonnie Chisenhall led off the third inning with a double to right field, advanced to third base on Swisher's double play groundout, and came around to score on Kyle Gibson's wild pitch.

"He pitched on both sides of the plate," Indians left fielder Michael Brantley said Gibson. "He was getting ahead early, and the next thing, it was his off-speed. He did a great job of keeping us off balance, and it was a tough day out there for us today."


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