The last-place Twins scored one in the ninth to force extra
innings, then won it in the bottom of the 10th, defeating the
Cleveland Indians 5-4 Friday night at Target Field.
Minnesota has now won three straight games against playoff
contenders after taking two in a row against American League Central
leading Detroit earlier this week.
Cleveland failed in its bid to gain ground in the wild-card race.
The Indians entered the game four games back for the second spot,
and with a win, would have gained a half-game following Kansas
City's 10-1 loss to the Tigers.
Trevor Plouffe's bases-loaded single with one out in the bottom of
the 10th inning drove in winning run, as the Twins rallied from a
two-run deficit in the middle innings to get the victory.
Minnesota led off the 10th with a pair of singles off lefty Kyle
Crockett. After an intentional walk to first baseman Joe Mauer
loaded the bases and designated hitter Kennys Vargas struck out
swinging, Plouffe, the Twins third baseman, lined a single to center
off Josh Tomlin, giving the Twins the win.
The hit salvaged a nightmare night for Plouffe, who had gone 0-for-4
at the plate and committed an error in the top of the 10th that gave
Cleveland a chance to win.
"That's something that's going to happen," Plouffe said. "We got out
of that inning with a zero on the board, so that's all that
Plouffe also struck out to start the ninth with Minnesota down a
run. Catcher Kurt Suzuki followed with a double to right field and
pinch runner Eduardo Nunez advanced to third on a single by right
fielder Oswaldo Arcia. Center fielder Aaron Hicks hit a sharp ground
ball to short that was bobbled by Jose Ramirez enough for Hicks to
reach first and Nunez to score, tying the game at 4-4.
"He had a shot [at a double play] but it would have been a hell of a
play," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We're either looking
for a strikeout or a ball hit hard enough where we can turn a double
play. He hit a bullet, but I don't think most shortstops get to that
one. It would have been a really good play."
The ninth-inning offense came against Indians closer Cody Allen, who
blew his fourth save of the season.
"Very exciting baseball. We're just trying to give everything we
have," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I know what those guys
are fighting for and they've been fighting all year."
Crockett took the loss, dropping to 4-1 after allowing one run on
two hits and a walk in one-third of an inning.
Jared Burton (3-5) got the win, retiring both batters he faced in
the top of the 10th.
Cleveland looked to be in control after a sacrifice fly by center
fielder Michael Bourn extended the Indians' lead to 4-2 through 6
"It sucks. We had a lead and end up losing," said Indians starting
pitcher Trevor Bauer. "We dug ourself a hole and we're in a tough
position, so everything is magnified right now. All these losses,
[to top of second column]
The Twins rallied for one in the bottom half of the inning, getting
back-to-back singles to lead off their half of the seventh, knocking
Bauer from the game. Reliever Scott Atchison struck out the only two
men he faced, but Arcia followed with an RBI single off Marc
Rzepczynski to make it a one-run game.
Right-hander Zach McAllister entered and got Hicks to pop out to
deep second to end the threat.
Bauer allowed only two hits through his first six innings of work --
both solo home runs. Arcia hit his 19th of the season in the third
inning to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. Vargas followed with one of his
own, his ninth, one inning later, tying the game at 2-2.
"I thought I was good. Threw the ball well," Bauer said. "Not good
Indians third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall and second basemen Mike
Aviles singled in runs in the fourth inning and designated hitter
Michael Brantley homered on the first pitch of the sixth inning off
Twins righty Phil Hughes, giving Cleveland the lead for good at 3-2.
Bauer allowed three runs on four hits and struck out six in six-plus
innings of work. Hughes gave up 10 hits and struck out five over
seven innings, but has now failed in three straight attempts to
capture his 16th victory.
"I certainly didn't have my best stuff tonight and kinda had to
grind it out and battle, keep us as close as I could," Hughes said.
"Made a lot of mistakes over the plate, but was able to make some
decent pitches to keep it at four runs. The guys did a good job of
battling and playing really inspired baseball."
NOTES: Indians OF Ryan Raburn had arthroscopic surgery Friday to
repair a tear of his lateral meniscus. Full recovery from the
procedure takes six to eight weeks. ... Twins LHP Glen Perkins will
be shut down for the remainder of the season after further
evaluations on his throwing elbow revealed a strain in his forearm
as well as nerve irritation. No surgery is expected for Perkins, who
should be ready in time for 2015. ... Twins RF Oswaldo Arcia
returned to the lineup Friday after sitting out Minnesota's previous
two games with a strained lower back.
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