CLEVELAND, Ohio – Every night opens a night for Shane Bieber.
Bieber, in his second start of the season, struck out 13 in the eighth innings on Thursday evening as the Indians beat the Twins, 2-0, at Target Field. It’s hard to imagine Bieber better than he was on July 24 when he set an opening night record for the Indians with 14 strikes in six innings without a score against Kansas City, but he was.
Bieber not only set an AL record with 27 tackles in his first two starts of the season, he set the MLB record with the help of Brooklyn Dodgers ’Karl Spooner. The man who passed for the AL record was the Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.
“I feel like as a collective group this was very sweet,” Bieber said, when asked to compare Thursday’s start to the opening night. “We know how important this series is. Coming there and doing what we did tonight set the tone for the series.
“I feel like a clubhouse is definitely jumping, as much as possible with all the protocols. They̵7;re enjoying it.”
The win brought the Indians to first place in AL Central with half a game over the Twins. Last year the Twins won the division with 101 wins. The Indians finished second with 93.
When asked about Ryan’s passing, Bieber said, “A couple of people mentioned this. That’s an amazing company to be. It should even be mentioned in the same sentence. I’ll enjoy it. ”
As a full manager, Terry Francona starts the 5-0 rotation with 1.15 ERA in the first seven games of the season. In those seven games each starter ran six innings or more, while allowing two runs or less, to set a franchise record.
The total of the Tribe rotation strike? That would be 67 attacks in 47 innings.
Bieber credited catcher Sandy Leon for his game call. Leon fills in for Roberto Perez
Asked what Bieber’s best pitch was, Leon said, “All of them. He would strike all four pitches whenever he wanted. It was fun.”
Leon said he spoke to Perez about how he could catch Bieber before the team leaves for Minneapolis on Wednesday night.
The Twins put pressure on Bieber in the sixth when he allowed one-out singles to Byron Buxton and Max Kepler. He recovered back to Josh Donaldson’s strike on a ball that broke 3-2 in the dirt and retired Jorge Polanco on a fly ball to the center.
Francisco Lindor provided all the offense Bieber needed with two and two away from home outside Jose Berrios (0-1, 7.00) in the third inning.
Bieber (2-0, 0.00) allowed three hits. He withdrew the last seven men he faced and did not move. Bieber took off from one batter and allowed seven hits in two starts this season.
Rookie James Karinchak led the ninth for the first save of his big league. He withdrew from the side to order on six pitches.
“This is a dream come true,” Karinchak said.
The Indians took a 2-0 lead against the Twins over two Lindor homers in the third. Berrios started the inning by retiring Oscar Mercado on a fly fly to the center and shot Cesar Hernandez.
Jose Ramirez, who entered the game hitting .368 (7-for-19), sent a 1-2 pitch for Berriors into the right field for one. Berrios jumped ahead from Lindor as well, but with the score 0-2 he threw a fastball right in the middle and Lindor sent it over the wall in the center right for his second homer of the season.
“I picked a good pitch to throw well,” Lindor said. “I’m glad he came out. Berrios hit me many times.”
The Indians had a chance to take the lead in sixth place after Berrios left after five innings. Franmil Reyes and Bradley Zimmer caught up on singles. Zimmer reached on a single infield and continued second on a throwing error by first baseman Miguel Sano. The edge was so bad that Reyes could have scored, but he dropped into second base before moving on to third.
Zack Littell, who started sixth, left Domingo Santana to load the bases with one out. Catcher Sandy Leon sent a liner back to the East. Littell stopped her with his body, grabbed her and started a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning.
Another chance of a potential score ended in the sixth. Hernandez pulled a one-off walk with Ramirez and Lindor because of the bats. But Hernandez was caught first when he went back to standing first instead of diving. Sano tagged him on the helmet, but Hernandez was originally called safe. The Twins challenged the phone call and this safe call was reversed.
Ramirez followed with the walk and Lindor sent a liner to the center-right gap that Byron Buxton ran down.
Berrios allowed two runs on three hits in five innings. He hit six and left one.
Starter Twins No 1 came into the game with a 5-2 career record against the Indians. That included a 2-0 record last year in four starts.
The win gave Bieber a 4-0 career record against the Twins.
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