May 15, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Derek Lowe (26) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
Derek Lowe threw a six-hit shutout without a strikeout, in as easy a victory as the Indians have had all season. I guess you never expect a pitcher to toss a shutout, but the combination of Lowe and the Twins seemed destined for that outcome.
So how does a pitcher shut out a team while allowing 10 base runners and not striking out a batter? First, the lineup he's facing has to be terrible (check). Secondly, that terrible lineup has to hit the ball on the ground (22 ground outs). And thirdly, that terrible lineup hitting lots of grounders have to be hitting them at defenders with runners on base (four double plays).
Meanwhile, the Indians battered around Twins starter Jason Marquis, who I thought had retired several years ago. Marquis had, until this season, spent his entire career in the National League. Perhaps he thought that the spacious Target Field would counter the better lineups he'd be facing, but he's been as terrible at home as on the road. The Indians tagged him for five runs in five innings, three of those runs coming via solo home runs in the fifth inning.