CLEVELAND: For Indians fans who regularly have been attending home games lately, the thrilling, walk-off win has simply become the norm.
After nine innings of offensive shortcomings, the Indians broke through in the bottom of the 10th to down the Minnesota Twins 1-0 Monday night in extra innings at Progressive Field.
Facing Brandon Kintzler, Abraham Almonte opened the inning with a drag bunt single. Chris Gimenez failed to get a sacrifice bunt down but made up for it by hitting a single into right field, putting the winning run on second.
Rajai Davis also failed to get a bunt down and then grounded to third, where Miguel Sano tagged Almonte for the first out but couldnít throw Davis out at first for a double play.
That opened the door for Jason Kipnis, who roped a single into left-center field to win it, sealing the Indiansí eighth walk-off win of the season.
It was the third walk-off win for the Indians in their last five home games and the fourth game out of those five to be won in the eighth inning or later, continuing the recent magic at Progressive Field.
For the Indians, it was the seventh game in their last eight in which they scored one or zero runs, dating back to a 2-5 road trip. Monday night, Trevor Bauer, Andrew Miller, Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen picked up the slack, combining to throw 10 scoreless innings.
Bauer had a quality outing, throwing six scoreless innings while allowing five hits and striking out four. It was his best outing since Aug. 9, when he held the Washington Nationals scoreless over 6? innings pitched.
As Danny Salazar has worked his way back from the disabled list and Josh Tomlin struggled through a tough August, Bauer has joined American League Cy Young contender Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco in carrying the Indians rotation into the latter stretch of the regular season.
Bauer received some defensive help. With two outs and two strikes on Brian Dozier, Bauer thought he had delivered strike three, a fastball at the belt, but didnít get the call. Dozier on the next pitch ripped a single into right-center field but headed for second, trying to stretch it into a double, and was thrown out by Davis.
In the sixth, Kipnis made one of the best plays of his season, a diving stop to his left to get Joe Mauer at first. Davis later added to the solid night defensively with a diving catch to rob Sano of a single and end the top of the eighth inning.
Miller relieved Bauer to open the seventh and got into some trouble, as two singles put runners on the corners with two outs. Miller then made Dozier look silly, striking him out with his trademark slider. Dozier not only badly missed it but crumpled to the ground trying to make contact.
Millerís slider also did something similar to Oaklandís Khris Davis to end the Indiansí 1-0 win against the Aís on Aug. 22.
Francisco Lindor broke one of baseballís unwritten rules in the eighth. With two outs and Lindor on first, Mike Napoli singled to right field. But Lindor tried to advance to third and was thrown out by Max Kepler to end the inning instead of giving Carlos Santana an at-bat with the go-ahead run in scoring position.
Allen allowed one hit in the ninth and then ran into trouble in the 10th, allowing a single and walking two to load the bases with two outs. Zach McAllister entered the game in what was then the biggest at-bat of the night against Kepler.
After a foul-ball-laced duel, McAllister induced Kepler to fly out to center field to end the inning.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RyanLewisABJ.