CLEVELAND: Minnesota got to Justin Masterson early and fought off a couple of Indians comeback attempts, and the Twins beat the Tribe 10-7 in a back-and-forth game that took nearly four hours Sunday.
Masterson was hit hard, allowing six runs, five earned, on seven hits in only 3⅔ innings. He also hit two batters and needed 97 pitches to last as long as he did.
The Twins (3-3) scored two in the first inning and had that lead erased by a Yan Gomes home run to left field, his second of the season. The Twins then added three runs in the third and another run in the fourth to take a 6-2 lead.
[Masterson] wasn’t commanding very well,” manager Terry Francona said. “He’s falling behind some hitters, ball one, ball two, ball three. He hit a couple of guys, right-handed hitters, let a couple fly [on his] arm side. It was just hard for him.”
Masterson said he kept trying to make adjustments during the game but couldn’t relieve his location issues.
“You want to make some adjustments and it just didn’t happen. That was the hard part,” Masterson said. “Even in game, I’m, like, ‘All right, let’s do this, do this, and make some athletic adjustments.’ And it just didn’t work. I’m still doing the same thing like, ‘Come on, ya big dummy.’ ”
The Twins’ three-run third was highlighted by a Gomes error, when with runners on the corners and one out, Twins designated hitter Chris Colabello hit a ground ball a few feet in front of the plate. Gomes fired to second base, trying for the double play, but nobody was there to take the throw, and it sailed into center field.
“Going fast, he’s trying to end the inning,” Francona said. “Couple balls went through the infield, you mix in Gomes coming up on a swinging bunt, we threw it into center. You mix all those things together and it’s a big inning, and they made [Masterson] throw a lot of pitches.”
The Indians’ bats brought the Tribe back, though. With the bases loaded in the fourth inning, Jason Kipnis drove a three-RBI double off the left-field wall to make it 6-5 against starter Ricky Nolasco. In the fifth inning, David Murphy, who went 4-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI, singled home a run to tie the score 6-6.
The Twins then delivered the deciding blow in the top of the sixth inning. Blake Wood came on to pitch and walked second baseman Brian Dozier, who then stole second. With left fielder Josh Willingham out of the game with a wrist injury after being hit by Masterson, the Indians (3-3) decided to intentionally walk first baseman Joe Mauer. That backfired after Wood hit Jason Bartlett, Willingham’s replacement, and Colabello followed with a three-RBI double, making it 9-6.
“We’ve had some days where we’ve played OK and we’ve had some days where we haven’t even played great and won,” Murphy said. “So, 3-3 start, not bad. We know we’re better than this. We’re going to continue to fight to get to the spot where we know we’re clicking on all cylinders.”
The offense, which recorded 15 hits, also left 12 men on base. The last scoring chance came in the seventh inning, when Murphy singled and Nyjer Morgan walked with one out. Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis, though, each popped out to the left side of the infield to end the inning.
“We had runners all over the bases today,” Murphy said. “On good days, that’s probably going to happen a lot. Hopefully we’ll take some momentum from this and take it into this week.”
Wood took the loss on Sunday. Twins reliever Anthony Swarzak got the win for the Twins, and Glenn Perkins recorded the save.