Several scouting reports on Ervin Santana will undoubtedly be filed this month in front offices around the major leagues. Some might note that the Twins righthander couldn't get out of the sixth inning Friday night, that he gave up four runs, that he had only two clean innings.
Others might say: If his glove was 2 inches to the right, he probably has a quality start, perhaps even a victory.
On such random acts, trade possibilities may depend.
Santana, a possible trade target for contenders before the Aug. 1 nonwaiver deadline, gave up three consecutive hits in the sixth inning Friday, an abrupt and inches-from-preventable Indians rally that eventually powered Cleveland to a 5-2 victory over the Twins in their return from the All-Star break at Target Field.
"It was hit sharply," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Jose Ramirez's line drive off Santana's left wrist, a ball that ricocheted into center field and drove home the tiebreaking run. "[If we] get a little lucky there, it finds the glove instead of the wrist, you might get a double play and get off the field."
Hypothetically, sure. With two runners on base, if Santana had snagged the ball, he could easily have doubled up one of the runners and ended the inning, posting his third consecutive quality start. But that's not how things go for these Twins, who began the second half of the season as they did the first, with a loss.
"It was too fast," said Santana, who owned a 1.63 ERA over his previous four starts and had begun showing up in trade rumors around the league. "It hit me in the wrist. It's a little swollen now, but it's OK."
Not to the Twins. The play ended Santana's night and drove in Francisco Lindor with the go-ahead run, and AL Central-leading Cleveland added a couple more once Santana was gone.
Trevor May threw a wild pitch to the backstop, enabling Napoli to score a run charged to Santana. It was May's eighth wild pitch of the season, more than any reliever in MLB, and the run was his fourth allowed this year on such a mistake.
An inning later, Ryan Pressly gave up a home run into the bullpen to Napoli to put Cleveland up 5-2.
"Napoli had a good night. He took advantage of a couple mistakes on sliders," Molitor said. "But we just didn't have enough offense. Four hits usually is not going to get you many wins."
True enough, but those two runs and four hits represented a screeching halt to the Twins' offensive momentum, which had carried them on a 7-2 hot streak into the break. Not since their July 4th fizzle had the offense produced so few runs or hits, and they had 8.8 runs and 12.8 hits per game since then.
Carlos Carrasco and his changeup took care of all that.
"You have to capitalize when you face a guy like Carrasco. He made some mistakes and we didn't put very good swings on them," said Brian Dozier, who blasted the only fastball he saw all night just inside the foul pole, his team-leading 15th home run, tying the score at 2-2. "He throws that changeup 50, 60, 70 percent of the time. That's his best pitch, and we kept chasing it."
Carrasco retired nine of the last 12 hitters he faced, and lowered his ERA to 2.49 with a 6⅔-inning performance.
Cleveland scored twice off Santana in the fourth inning, aided by Miguel Sano's fifth error in the past seven games. Ramirez pounded a single to left that scored one run, and Chisenhall grounded out to bring another run home.
Joe Mauer ended that threat, however, with a diving catch of Yan Gomes' liner, which he turned into an inning-ending double play. The sort of play, in fact, that Santana wishes he had made two innings later.