Indians slip past Twins

Published 8:42 am Thursday, May 8, 2014

CLEVELAND — Mike Aviles’s two-out single in the ninth inning gave the Cleveland Indians a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.

Asdrubal Cabrera led off the inning with a double against Casey Fien (3-1). The ball was hit over the head of infielder Eduardo Escobar, who misjudged the ball that landed on the warning track.

After Lonnie Chisenhall’s sacrifice bunt, Yan Gomes grounded out. Aviles hit a hard ground ball on a 1-1 pitch into center field for Cleveland’s first walk-off win of the season.

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Cleveland’s players mobbed Aviles after he crossed first base. The Indians had 11 walk-off wins last season.

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 doubled down the right-field line. After Brian Dozier walked on a 3-2 pitch, third baseman Carlos Santana leaned into the stands to catch Sam Fuld’s foul popup.

Axford had a bad week going into the game. Chicago’s Dayan Vicideo hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning Sunday while Escobar hit a solo homer in the 10th inning Monday, giving Minnesota a 1-0 win.

Danny Salazar, who hit 100 mph on the Progressive Field radar gun several times, took a 3-1 lead into the seventh, but Minnesota tied the game on pinch-hitter Santana’s RBI single and Dozier’s sacrifice fly.

Salazar retired the first hitter, but Yosmil Pinto singled and took third when Escobar doubled to left-center. Bryan Shaw relieved to face Santana, who batted for Pedro Florimon. Shaw had to hit the deck to avoid Santana’s liner up the middle that scored Pinto and put runners at first and third.

Dozier’s fly ball scored Escobar.

Salazar allowed three runs and struck out seven in 6 1-3 innings.

Ricky Nolasco gave up three runs with nine strikeouts in six innings.

Michael Brantley had a two-run double in the third and Gomes hit a leadoff homer in the fifth.

Dozier had an RBI double in the third for Minnesota, which played its third straight game without first baseman Joe Mauer, who has lower back spasms.

Gomes’ home run atoned for his ninth error of the season that helped Minnesota score in the third. Florimon drew a two-out walk, stole second and took third when Gomes’ throw skipped into center field. Dozier followed with his double.

Gomes had three errors in 88 games last season and impressed the Indians enough to get a six-year, $23 million contract in spring training.

Nolasco retired the first eight hitters before Aviles’ two-out single in the third. A single by Nyjer Morgan and a walk to Nick Swisher loaded the bases. Brantley’s hit down the line in right scored two runs, and Brantley was called safe sliding into second.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire challenged the call, which was upheld after a replay review.

NOTES: Indians OF Michael Bourn (tight left hamstring) missed his fourth straight game, but said he could return for the final game of the series Thursday. … Twins OF Aaron Hicks (concussion) is taking live batting practice in Minneapolis and could come off the 7-day disabled list this weekend. … Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera snapped an 0-for-13 slump with a sixth-inning single. … Twins RHP Kevin Correia (1-3) faces RHP Justin Masterson (1-1) on Thursday.