Byrd's double propels Indians past Twins

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[May 14, 2016]  CLEVELAND -- A win is a win, or is it? After his team's wild, home run-filled 7-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins Friday at Progressive Field, Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona said this was more than just your garden variety victory.

Indians right fielder Marlon Byrd (6) reacts after his two RBI double in the eighth inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

"This was a good game to win because it was a hard game to win," Francona said.

Marlon Byrd's two-run double keyed a three-run, eighth-inning rally, and as it turned out the Indians needed all three of those runs.

"You just keep playing, because you don't know what's enough to win," Francona said.

After Minnesota took a 5-4 lead on a home run by Eduardo Nunez in the top of the eighth, Francisco Lindor led off the bottom of the eighth with a single and steal of second base against Trevor May (0-2).

May struck out Mike Napoli, but Jose Ramirez drew a walk. Byrd then slammed a double to center field, scoring Lindor and Ramirez and giving Cleveland a 6-5 lead.

"He stayed back on it and really drove it," Francona said.

"Trevor didn't execute his pitches," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "The walk to Ramirez was big. And give them credit, they capitalized on it."

 

Yan Gomes struck out for the second out, but Juan Uribe singled, scoring Tyler Naquin, who was pinch running for Byrd, with an insurance run that the Indians needed after Minnesota added a run in the ninth on an RBI single by Nunez.

Nunez stole second, putting the tying run in scoring position with one out. But Cleveland closer Cody Allen struck out Miguel Sano for the second out.

Trevor Plouffe drew a walk before a wild pitch by Allen moved Nunez to third. But Byung Ho Park struck out to end the game as Allen picked up his ninth save.

Zach McAllister (2-1) struck out the last two batters of the eighth to get the win.

"We had opportunities to score more than six, but we let them hang around," Molitor said.

With the score tied 4-4, Nunez, the first batter reliever Bryan Shaw faced in the top of the eighth, homered over the left-field wall to give the Twins a 5-4 lead.

In addition to Nunez's homer, Minnesota got two home runs and three RBIs from Park and one homer from Sano.

Gomes and Jason Kipnis homered for the Indians.

"Park's were no doubters. He really got into them," Molitor said.

Francona was most impressed with Sano's home run, which was estimated at 450 feet.

"I think I can pick that one up on my way home. He really killed it," Francona said.

The two starting pitchers had nearly identical lines, and neither was involved in the decision.

Cleveland's Josh Tomlin pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) and four hits with four strikeouts, two walks and three home runs allowed.

"We hit some home runs off him but couldn't knock him out of the game," Molitor said of Tomlin, who retired the last 12 batters he faced.

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"They were taking some pretty big swings off me early so I knew my margin for error was not that big," Tomlin said.

Minnesota's Ricky Nolasco pitched six innings, giving up four runs and four hits with three strikeouts, three walks and two home runs allowed.

Nolasco led 4-3 going into the sixth, but the Indians manufactured a run when Byrd followed a single and two walks with a sacrifice fly.

The teams came into the game ranked 14th and 15th in the American League in home runs, then combined to hit five in the first three innings.

Sano, the third batter of the game, got the fireworks started by belting a solo homer over the center-field wall.

The Twins made it 2-0 when Park led off the second with a booming home run into the left-field bleachers.

"I wasn't keeping the ball down. I was trying to do too much, instead of just pitching," Tomlin said.

In the bottom of the second, Gomes blasted a two-run homer, snapping his 0-for-20 hitless streak.

"That was good to see," Francona said. "He's going to hit. He knows it and we know it."

Park homered again in the third, a two-run shot that gave the Twins a 4-2 lead. But Kipnis slugged a home run in the bottom of the third to cut the Minnesota lead to 4-3.

NOTES: The Indians recalled OF Tyler Naquin from Triple-A Columbus to replace OF Lonnie Chisenhall, who was placed on the bereavement list. ... Indians OF Michael Brantley remains sidelined with a sore right shoulder. Brantley, who had surgery on the shoulder last November, opened the season on the disabled list, played 11 games after he was activated, and has missed the last three games. ... Twins OF Miguel Sano was the No. 3 hitter in the Twins' lineup. Entering the game, Sano had a .293 batting average in the No. 4 spot and .143 when hitting anywhere else in the lineup. ... Left-handed hitters are 0-for-17 with five strikeouts vs. Twins LHP Fernando Abad.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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