Saturday, September 20, 2014

Twins back at .500

CLEVELAND—Eduardo Escobar usually shows off his power during pre-game batting practice.
Last night, he did some flexing in the 10th inning.

Escobar homered on Cleveland closer John Axford’s second pitch of the 10th, giving the Minnesota Twins a 1-0 win over the slumping Indians.
Escobar, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, connected on a 1-0 pitch from Axford (0-3)—driving it over the wall in right for his first homer since June 20 and fourth of his career in 344 at-bats.
“He can swing it, we’ve all seen that,” said Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire.
“You watch him in batting practice, he hits them as far as anybody.”
It was the second-straight gut-wrenching loss for Axford, who gave up a three-run homer in the ninth to Chicago’s Dayan Viciedo on Sunday as the White Sox rallied for a 4-3 win.
In that game, Cleveland catcher George Kottaras homered twice—becoming the first player in franchise history to homer in his first two plate appearances—while Corey Kluber struck out 13.
“Bad pitch,” Axford said of his fastball to Escobar that caught too much of the plate.
“It’s unbelievable,” he added. “It’s a shame that my performances have kind of taken precedence over a great hitting performance by George and outstanding pitching performances by Kluber and Zach.”
Caleb Thielbar (2-0) pitched a perfect ninth before Glen Perkins struck out two in the 10th for his eighth save.
The Indians, who only got two runners to second base, had been the only team in the majors not to play in an extra-inning game so far this season.
Cleveland now has dropped eight-of-10, and scoring is a huge issue. The Indians have scored three runs or less in 19 of their 32 games.
“We’re fairly inconsistent right now,” conceded manager Terry Francona.
“Even in hitters’ counts, we’re not getting real good swings.
“I think when it’s team-wide, everyone is trying to do too much,” he noted.
“It’s a good quality but we’ve got to fight through it together and keep the line moving, and we’re not doing that.”
Elsewhere in the AL, Detroit blanked Houston 2-0, Seattle doubled Oakland 4-2, and L.A. beat New York 4-1.
In the NL, Miami edged New York 4-3, St. Louis nipped Atlanta 4-3, Milwaukee beat Arizona 8-3, San Francisco topped Pittsburgh 11-10 (13 innings), and Washington blanked L.A. 4-0.

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