The Cleveland Indians have been making some noise in the AL Central. The Minnesota Twins hope to quiet them down when they visit Jacobs Field for the opener of an important three-game series with the surging Tribe.
Minnesota, which has won the last two Central titles, appeared to take charge of the division once again by winning 11 of 14 games to close July. The Twins won their first three games in August, but have tailed off significantly since, dropping six of eight.
Manager Ron Gardenhire was pleased with the win, especially with the weekend in Cleveland looming on his team’s schedule.
“It’s good to come out of here with a win,” he said. “Now we go on to Cleveland and see what we can do there. It ought to be a fun series. It’s a good day to get a win and get out of here.”
The Indians remained within three games of the Twins with a stirring 6-2 win over Toronto on Thursday, completing a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays. Ben Broussard belted his second grand slam in four days, a pinch-hit shot in the seventh, as Cleveland won for the seventh time in eight games.
The Indians will have more than enough opportunities to overtake the Twins as the teams meet 13 times from now until the end of the season.
“We play them 13 times and this is the start of it,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “But this was a good win. That was as big as anything Ben has done this year.”
Broussard improved to 6-for-9 with three grand slams and 21 RBIs with the bases loaded this season.
“What a difference a year makes,” said Broussard, who entered this season hitting .083 (1-for-12) with the bases loaded.
“Back then, it was, ‘Oh, man, I’ve got to drive this guy in.’ Now, I look at getting to pinch-hit with the bases loaded as a great situation. It’s fun.”