Most managers and baseball players in general are creatures of habit, so change might be hard to come by. But when the Indians struggled offensively at the end of their last series in Boston, something had to be done. Manny Acta placed Shin-Soo Choo in the leadoff spot for this abbreviated two game series with the Twins. The move paid off as the Indians won two straight over the Twins, with a 5-0 victory on Tuesday afternoon.
After driving in the go ahead run in Monday night’s 5-4 win over the Twins, Choo was back at the top spot of the lineup.
While lineup may mean very little other than getting your best players more at bats simply because they are getting more chances as they hit higher in the lineup. Choo happened to be up with a chance to drive in the winning run last night and today it seemed he found a spark in that spot.
He was 2-4 on the afternoon including a double and an opposite field solo home run, giving the Indians a 3-0 lead.
Choo’s home run started some kind of trend. After Jason Kipnis struck out to follow Choo, Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana followed with back to back towering home runs. At the end of fifth inning the Indians a 5-0 lead.
That was more than enough for Derek Lowe, who continues to pitch astonishingly well for someone who led the entire National League in losses just a year ago.
How dominant was Lowe on Tuesday you ask?
Without striking out a single batter and walking four, Lowe faced more than the minimum just four times in nine innings.
The 38 year old right hander induced four groundball double plays against the Twins and a total of 18 groundball outs.
On some nights this season Lowe has had to battle to keep the Indians in games where he couldn’t seem to put his sinker where he wanted it to go. Tuesday afternoon was not the case. Manny Acta had no qualms about sending Lowe out for the complete game, because of a recently fried bullpen, including last night where he had to use three pitchers to get out of the eighth inning when the Twins ultimately tied the game.
Casey Kotchman has also enjoyed this brief trip to the Twins cities. After hitting a two run home run in Monday night’s victory, he drove in the first run of the game with two out single that scored Carlos Santana, who led the inning off with a double.
Choo’s double came leading off the third inning and eventually scored on a one out single by Asdrubal Cabrera.
Brian Dozier doubled to lead off the fifth but Lowe got three straight ground ball outs to end that threat.
Minnesota’s best chance to score came in the seventh inning when it looked like Lowe may not be able to finish the complete game. Erik Komatsu singled to load the bases with two outs, prompting a visit from pitching coach Scott Radinsky. Lowe then got Alexi Castilla to fly out to end the inning.
W: Lowe (6-1) L: Jason Marquis (2-3)
HR: Choo (2) Santana (5) Cabrera (4)
Notes: Lowe’s complete game was the first time a pitcher has thrown a complete game without recording a strikeout since Scott Erickson did it in 2002. Erickson is now in his first year as pitching coach with the Indians High-A, Carolina Mudcats of the Carolina League. Lowe also came into his start against the Twins with a 1-4 record and a 5.97 in 21 appearances against Minnesota. Kotchman is 12-39 over his last 12 games with 8 RBI. He has had three, two hit games in the month of May.
The Indians return to Progressive Field for a mid-week two game series against the Seattle Mariners before hosting the Miami Marlins at the start of interleague play this coming weekend.
Felix Hernandez (3-2 2.29) and Ubaldo Jimenez (3-3 5.18) will hook up in game one of the short set at 7:05 on Wednesday.
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POSTED 05/16/2012 16:58