CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Nick Swisher welcomed himself back to the Indians lineup Saturday afternoon, helping the Tribe to their 6th straight win, topping the Twins 7-3.
Swisher, who had missed the previous three games as he rested his sore left shoulder, hit a solo homer as part of a two-run first inning to get the Indians going.
Always up for the dramatic, the former Ohio State alum did the famous “O-H” as he rounded home, a treat to the to 17,830 on hand for the win.
While Swisher’s homer in the first helped, maybe more important was the start for Scott Kazmir, who made his Progressive Field debut with the Indians.
Kazmir had his issues in his first two outings, not able to go five two weeks ago in the Indians 19-6 win over the Astros.
That night he gave up six runs on eight hits in just 3.1 innings while the Indians gave him every chance to earn the win.
Last Saturday vs the Royals he was better, but took the loss in going five innings allowing two runs in the KC 3-2 win.
Saturday though he was very good, walking one and striking out seven as he held the Twins to two runs on five hits over six innings.
He threw 95 pitches, 67 for strikes, and seemed to have much better command of his pitches than his first two outings of the season.
It was the first MLB win for the Indians since September 2010 when he was with the Rays.
Kazmir won’t have to wait a week till his next start which should help, as he will be back on the mound vs Oakland on Thursday in a 12:05pm start.
Jason Kipnis homered in the first off Twins starter Kevin Correia to open the scoring, and then started a rally in the 7th when he tripled off the glove of Twins CF Aaron Hicks.
He scored on a double off the wall in right by Asdrubal Cabrera to extended an Indians 4-2 lead to 5-2. Mark Reynolds pushed the lead to 6-2 two batters after Cabrera with a RBI single.
It was Reynolds team leading 25th RBI of the season.
Minnesota cut the Indians lead from 2-0 to 2-1 in the second when number nine hitter Pedro Florimon singled with two outs to drive in a run.
The Indians came close to blowing it open in the second when they scored two, as Michael Brantley singled in a run, and Kipnis blooped in a run to make it 4-1.
They had the bases loaded with two outs in the frame when Swisher flew out on a line drive to right to end the inning.
Hicks had gotten the Twins to within two at 4-2 after he hit his first MLB homer in the 5th off Kazmir.
Minnesota got a run off Joe Smith in the 8th after he walked the first two batters and Ryan Doumit singled to shallow center to score Joe Mauer to make it 6-3.
Ezequiel Carrera pushed the lead back to four for the Indians in the 8th, as he doubled in Drew Stubbs who had doubled to make it 7-3.
For the Indians offense, it’s the first time they have put up six or or more runs in six straight games since September 18th to the 24th of 2005.
Sunday the Indians will look for the three-game sweep. Corey Kluber (2-0, 2.25) will go for the Indians against Mike Pelfrey (2-3, 7.66) for the Twins.