Twins fall to Indians
CLEVELAND—The Cleveland Indians specialized in walk-off wins last season.
It took 34 games but they finally got their first walk-off this season last night when Mike Aviles’ two-out single in the ninth lifted the Indians to a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
“It’s definitely fun, especially with a noon game [Wednesday],” Aviles said.
“It’s always good not to play extra innings and get that big win at the end.”
“That was nice,” echoed Indians’ manager Terry Francona. “We needed that.”
The Indians had 11 walk-off victories last season as they won 92 games and made the playoffs as a wild-card team.
“We’re playing at home and when you hit last, you always feel like you have a chance,” Francona noted.
The short-handed Twins were playing their third-straight game without first baseman Joe Mauer and had only 11 available position players.
Eduardo Escobar, normally a shortstop, played the entire game in left field, which cost Minnesota in the ninth.
Asdrubal Cabrera led off the inning with a double against Casey Fien (3-1). Escobar misjudged the ball and turned the wrong way as it landed on the warning track.
“He just didn’t get to it, I’m sure he shied away from the wall,” said Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire.
After Lonnie Chisenhall’s sacrifice bunt, Yan Gomes grounded out.
Aviles then hit a hard ground ball on a 1-1 pitch into centrefield.
John Axford (1-3), who had allowed game-winning home runs in his previous two outings, survived a shaky ninth.
He retired the first two hitters, but Danny Santana then doubled down the right-field line.
After Brian Dozier walked on a 3-2 pitch, third baseman Carlos Santana, who had to contend with a fan who wanted the ball, leaned into the stands to catch Sam Fuld’s foul pop-up.
“I was yelling from the mound but I don’t think he heard me,” Axford said of the fan.
“I was yelling, ‘Don’t touch it.’”
Elsewhere in the AL, Detroit edged Houston 3-2, Baltimore nipped Tampa Bay 4-3, New York dumped L.A. 9-2, and Seattle and Oakland split a doubleheader.
In NL action, Pittsburgh shaded San Francisco 4-3, Miami blanked New York 1-0, Washington edged L.A. 3-2, Arizona trimmed Milwaukee 3-2, and St. Louis dumped Atlanta 7-1.