On Wednesday night, the Cleveland utility man showed why his
manager has so much confidence in him by collecting three hits,
including a walk-off RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the
ninth inning, giving the Indians a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota
"That was nice. We needed that," Francona said.
With the score tied 3-3, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera led off the
bottom of the ninth with a gift double to left field off
right-hander Casey Fien (3-1). Cabrera's fly ball near the warning
track appeared catchable, but infielder Eduardo Escobar, making his
first career start in left field, misjudged the ball, jumping for it
before reaching the warning track.
"That last second I felt like I was pretty close," Escobar said.
"That's why I gave it a jump."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, "He just didn't get to it. I'm
sure he shied away from the wall. It was going towards the wall over
his head and he got to the warning track and felt that he was a
little too close probably."
Third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall's sacrifice bunt moved Cabrera to
third. Fien retired catcher Yan Gomes on a groundout for the second
out, but Aviles then lined a single to center, scoring Cabrera with
the winning run.
"When you get to hit last, you always feel like you have a chance,"
said Francona. "That was a big hit by Mikey. He knows how respected
he is by the other players and our staff. He's very important to
what we do."
Right-hander John Axford (1-3) pitched the top of the ninth and got
his first win of the season. Axford, the Indians' closer, blew saves
in each of his previous two appearances, but he rebounded Wednesday
"It was huge for me personally, but more important for the team,"
Axford said. "We haven't had one of those (walk-off win) moments
yet. Those are always fun to enjoy as a team."
Trailing 3-1, the Twins scored twice in the seventh inning, knocking
right-hander Danny Salazar out of the game.
With one out, designated hitter Josmil Pinto singled and went to
third on a double by Escobar.
Salazar was replaced by right-hander Bryan Shaw, who was greeted by
a line-drive single from pitch hitter Danny Santana, scoring Pinto
and cutting Cleveland's lead to 3-2. Escobar went to third on
Santana's hit, and he scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly by
second baseman Brian Dozier.
"I thought they were making some hard outs," Francona said of the
decision to remove Salazar from the game. "I thought we got to the
point where Shaw could get (Santana) out. He didn't, so that's on
me. Danny got us to where he could."
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Salazar and Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco pitched to a virtual
standoff. Nolasco threw six innings, giving up three runs on six
hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. Salazar pitched 6 1/3
innings, giving up three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and
"Overall, Danny was pretty good," Francona said. "They were really
trying to be aggressive on his fastball, but he mixed it up enough,
and he competed like crazy."
Nolasco retired the first eight batters he faced, but with two outs
and nobody on base in the third inning, the Indians struck for two
Aviles, playing second base, singled and went to third on a single
by center fielder Nyjer Morgan. First baseman Nick Swisher walked,
loading the bases, and left fielder Michael Brantley lined a double
down the right field line, scoring Aviles and Morgan and giving
Cleveland a 2-1 lead.
The Twins took a 1-0 lead off Salazar in the top of the third. With
two outs and nobody on, shortstop Pedro Florimon walked, stole
second and went to third on a throwing error by Gomes. Dozier
followed with a double to left field, scoring Florimon and giving
the Twins a brief 1-0 lead.
Gomes led off the fifth inning with a home run to left field,
bumping Cleveland's lead to 3-1.
NOTES: Indians OF Michael Bourn missed his third consecutive game
with a tight hamstring, but he said he hopes to return to the lineup
Thursday. ... The Indians continue to lead the American League in
errors, with C Yan Gomes committing the team's 34th of the season
Wednesday. "It's not from a lack of effort. We're just making
errors," manager Terry Francona said. ... Twins 1B Joe Mauer, still
bothered by lower back spasms, missed the first three games of the
series. ... In Thursday's series finale, Twins RHP Kevin Correia
(1-3, 6.09 ERA) faces Indians RHP Justin Masterson (1-1, 4.01 ERA).
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