Indians make lots of noise en route to 7-2 win over Twins
CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Indians' home opener Friday got off to a quiet start but a noisy conclusion that resulted in a 7-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Cleveland was held scoreless on one hit through the first five innings, falling behind 2-0. But in the sixth and seventh innings, the Indians scored seven runs on seven hits to blow open the game as they won for the third time in four games this season.
First baseman Nick Swisher had a home run, double and three RBIs and catcher Yan Gomes also homered to lead a 10-hit Cleveland attack.
Trailing 2-0, the Indians scored three runs in the sixth inning and blew it open with a four-run seventh that was capped by a two-run double from left fielder Michael Brantley.
The win went to Indians reliever Josh Outman (1-0). Minnesota starter Mike Pelfrey (0-1) took the loss.
For the first four innings, Pelfrey dominated Cleveland hitters, retiring the first 12 batters he faced. Third baseman Carlos Santana doubled leading off the bottom of the fifth, but Pelfrey pitched out of that jam and took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth.
Gomes led off the Cleveland sixth with a booming home run over the center-field wall to cut the Twins' lead to 2-1.
"It really got us going. It was the whole jump start to our night," said Indians outfielder Michael Brantley.
Designated hitter Lonnie Chisenhall walked and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by center fielder Nyjer Morgan. Swisher then swatted an 0-1 pitch from Pelfrey deep into the lower deck in right field for a two-run homer, giving Cleveland a 3-2 lead.
"That kind of ruins the whole day, no matter how the first four innings went," Pelfrey said of his sixth-inning implosion. "It was like a kick in the stomach for me. They (the Indians) kind of ran away with it after that."
"He just wasn't the same pitcher in the sixth inning," said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire. "He lost the feel for his pitches, his rhythm, everything. Goodness gracious, that was pretty quick."
Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the first inning against Indians starter Danny Salazar. Second baseman Brian Dozier led off the game with a double to center field. Dozier went to second on a flyout by first baseman Joe Mauer and scored on a sacrifice fly by left fielder Josh Willingham for a 1-0 lead.
Designated hitter Chris Colabello followed with an opposite-field home run over the right-field wall to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead.
The Twins had a chance to do some damage in the second against Salazar. With catcher Kurt Suzuki at first on a walk, shortstop Pedro Florimon moved him to second with a two-out single. Dozier followed with a single, but Brantley's one-hop throw home to Gomes at the plate was in time to retire Suzuki for the third out of the inning.
Minnesota had an even better chance to score in the fifth when Dozier singled for his third hit of the game and went to third on a double by Mauer. Willingham was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. But Salazar retired Colabello on a line drive to second baseman Jason Kipnis and got third baseman Trevor Plouffe to ground out to end the inning.
"He kept us in it. He battled each and every inning," said Brantley of Salazar.
In 5 2/3 innings Salazar threw 95 pitches and gave up two runs on seven hits, with three walks and four strikeouts.
"I think you'll see more consistency from him this year, which will lead to better numbers," said Indians manager Terry Francona.
The Indians' four run seventh inning included RBI single by Nyjer Morgan and Swisher and then a two-run single by Brantley.
"They got on a little bit of a roll and they are hard to stop when they start swinging," Gardenhire said.
NOTES: Before the game, the Indians announced they had signed 2B Jason Kipnis to a six-year, $52.5 million contract extension. ... Friday marked the 20th anniversary of the opening of Progressive Field. Mike Hargrove, the Indians' manager when the ballpark opened in 1994, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... Since the start of the 2011 season, Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe has a .352 batting average at Progressive Field, the third highest for a visiting player behind Elvis Andrus (.392) and Victor Martinez (.375).