Home runs send Tribe by Twins
CLEVELAND (TSX) — First baseman Nick Swisher had a home run, double and three RBIs and catcher Yan Gomes also homered as the Indians beat the Minnesota Twins 7-2 on Friday in the Indians’ home opener.
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, Minnesota starter Mike 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. 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.
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. Those were the only runs allowed by Salazar, who pitched 5 2/3 innings. He gave up seven hits, with three walks and four strikeouts.
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.
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)