The Cleveland Indians pit on a hitting clinic at Target Field, downing the Minnesota Twins 10-4 on the strength of 20 hits.
Led by Trevor Crowe's 4-for-5 performance, the Indians broke the game open in the fifth, scoring five runs and chasing Twins starter Scott Baker from the game.
Crowe has impressed of late, hitting in five of his last six games, three of which were multi-hit performances. He has recorded five RBI during the same span.
Now hitting .263, Crowe has opened the argument for his playing every day. The problem is that there will be a glutton of outfielders next season, including Crowe, Michael Brantley, Shin-Soo Choo, Grady Sizemore and Austin Kearns (possibly) as well as youngsters Jordan Brown, Ezequiel Carrera and Nick Weglarz.
Most likely though, Crowe will battle Brantley for the third outfield spot.
One problem could arise because educated fans will want to see Brantley so the C.C. Sabathia trade can finally pay off for the team. But, Crowe has clearly been the better player this season (Crowe's .263 average, 24 RBI and .317 on-base percentage vs. Brantley's .151 average, six RBI and .202 on-base percentage).
But that's a debate for next spring. Let's enjoy tonight's moment while it's here.
Tonight, each Indians starter - with the exception of Kearns, who left the game in the fourth inning with a sore knee - recorded one hit. His replacement Shelly Duncan did record two hits though.
The only player without multiple hits was Jhonny Peralta, who was 1-for-3.
Kearns, Shelly Duncan and Matt LaPorta was the only hitters to not record an RBI.
Still in the AL Central cellar, the Indians are likely too far out of the playoff hunt, but if they can string together a White Soxesque run (they were something like 25-5 lately), there's nothing saying the Tribe can't make a late season run. Games like tonight's give fans a small sliver of hope for a magical run.
It's highly improbable, but if Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera do return to the lineup on Friday, Cleveland's offense should be improved.
Both players had hits at Akron in the first games of their rehab assignments tonight.
The Cleveland offense has scored 31 runs in the five games since the All-Star break.
Even if the team stalls and sluggishly fights to the finish, it will be beneficial in the long run, as so many of the team's prospects will get at-bats at the Major League level.
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