"This was a good game to win because it was a hard game to win,"
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
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
[to top of second column]
"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
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
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
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