Carrasco dominates as Indians knock off Twins
CLEVELAND — It was just one win, but in the bigger picture it was 100 wins. That got Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona’s attention.
“It’s cool. It’s meaningful, but hopefully we’ve got a lot more baseball ahead of us,” said Francona.
Carlos Carrasco struck out 14 in 8 1/3 scoreless innings as the Indians won their 100th game of the season, a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday at Progressive Field.
“Winning 100 is special. It’s a big accomplishment, but it’s not our goal,” said Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor. “Our goal since the start of the season was to get to the postseason and go as far as we can when we do.”
Carrasco (18-6) gave up six hits and one walk. He struck out six of the last seven batters he faced, and got support from home runs by Jason Kipnis, Roberto Perez and Jay Bruce.
“Carlos is a bona fide ace in our minds,” said Kipnis. “When he’s on, he’s lights out. He’s a perfect complement to Corey (Kluber).”
Twins reliever Trevor Hildenberger (3-3) gave up two runs in one inning and took the loss.
Minnesota used a lineup that was missing several regulars, who were given a day off after their wild card-clinching celebration late Wednesday night.
“I know there was something on the line for the Indians with their record (and trying to get the No. 1 seed in the American League), but I’ve got to do what’s best for our guys,” said Twins manager Paul Molitor.
Since Aug. 24, the Indians are 31-3. Cleveland is 100-59 overall, the third time in franchise history the Indians have won 100 games. The other two times were 1995, when they were 100-44 in a strike-shortened season, and 1954 (111-43).
Both those previous 100-win teams made it to the World Series, losing on both occasions. This year’s team hopes for a happier ending.
“I’ve been on some teams where no matter what you did it felt like you were going to lose. On this team, no matter what we do, we feel like we’re going to win,” Kipnis said.
“I don’t want to downplay 100 wins,” Francona said. “It’s nice to take a minute and be proud about what the guys have done.”
Ervin Santana started for the Twins. His next start will come on Tuesday against either the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox in the American League wild-card game.
With that in mind, Molitor did not want to extend Santana, who pitched five scoreless innings on four hits, with one strikeout and no walks. Santana threw 57 pitches.
“Ervin did a nice job,” said Molitor. “We talked about how long he should go, and felt five innings was good. That’s a nice tuneup for him that will keep him fresh for Tuesday.”
Carrasco and Santana battled through five scoreless innings before the Twins went to their bullpen, and Cleveland quickly scored two runs.
Hildenberger relieved Santana to start the sixth inning. Lindor led off with a double and Kipnis, the next hitter, belted his 12th home run into the seats in right field for a 2-0 lead.
In the seventh inning, Greg Allen reached on a bunt single and rode home on Perez’s eighth home run, off reliever Alan Busenitz, stretching the lead to 4-0. Bruce’s home run off Nik Turley in the eighth inning made it 5-0.
The Twins’ runs came on a two-out, two-run triple by Mitch Garver off Nick Goody in the ninth inning.
NOTES: Twins manager Paul Molitor officially named RHP Ervin Santana as the team’s starter for Tuesday’s wild-card game. ... Following the team’s late-night celebration over clinching the AL’s second wild-card spot Wednesday night, several Twins’ regulars were given a day off Thursday. The only regulars in the starting lineup were SS Jorge Polanco, RF Max Kepler, and C Jason Castro. ... Twins 3B Miguel Sano, who has been on the disabled list since Aug. 21 with a left shin stress reaction, worked out at Target Field on Thursday. Manager Paul Molitor said a decision on whether Sano will be on the club’s postseason roster will be made Sunday. ... In his last four appearances, Indians closer RHP Cody Allen has pitched three innings and given up five runs on six hits, three of them home runs. ... The Indians’ 100 wins are the most ever by a Terry Francona-managed team. The 2004 Red Sox, under Francona, won 98 games.