Indians top Twins on Michael Brantley’s single in 9th
Published 9:50 pm Thursday, August 9, 2018
CLEVELAND — Michael Brantley knew what was coming after giving the Cleveland Indians their second straight walk-off victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Brantley was mobbed by his teammates as he rounded first base following his ninth-inning single that gave Cleveland a 5-4 win Thursday.
Cleveland’s All-Star left fielder did his best to avoid the various items poured over his head.
“It’s tough,” Brantley said. “You’ve got some Gatorade. Some (baby) powder. You name it. It’s coming at you.”
The latest celebration took place about 18 hours after Francisco Lindor hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning Wednesday night for a 5-2 victory.
While Thursday’s party was a bit more subdued, the Indians persevered after Minnesota rallied from a 4-0 deficit against reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber.
Brantley grounded a 2-1 pitch off Addison Reed (1-6) past a diving Miguel Sano at first base to score Greg Allen. Brantley avoided over-analyzing the moment.
“I try to clear my mind,” he said. “It’s really too hard to think and hit. Just keep it simple and try to get that run the best you can.”
“It’s nice to have him up in that situation,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “You know the at-bat’s not going to get ahead of him or be too big.”
The Indians lead Minnesota by 11 games in the AL Central and are 35-16 against division foes this season. Sano’s ninth-inning home run off closer Cody Allen tied Wednesday’s game, but the Twins lost on Lindor’s blast.
“Walk-offs are obviously not satisfying,” Twins manager Paul Molitor. “But this was a little different from last night in that we got behind against a really good pitcher.”
Allen, called up from Triple-A Columbus before the game, started the rally with a single off Reed and stole second with Lindor batting. Lindor’s groundout to first moved Allen to third.
Andrew Miller (2-3) struck out a batter in the ninth. The left-hander made his fourth appearance since missing two months because of an inflamed right knee.
Jake Cave’s fifth-inning sacrifice fly scored a run for Minnesota. Jorge Polanco hit his first home run of the season — a three-run shot in the sixth — to tie the game.
Polanco missed the first 80 games of the season because of a suspension for violating baseball’s drug program.
Kluber appeared to be closing in on his 15th win, which would have tied him for the AL lead with New York’s Luis Severino.
Bobby Wilson singled to lead off the sixth. Eddie Rosario hit a towering fly to right with one out. Melky Cabrera drifted to the wall and attempted a leaping catch, but the ball popped out his glove as he fell to the ground and Roasrio was credited with a single.
Polanco followed with his home run to right on a 1-0 pitch. Kluber struck out the next two hitters and stranded a runner in the seventh, but was done for the day after 117 pitches.
“I could care less about if I get a win or the bullpen gets a win,” Kluber said. “The bottom line is, we won the game.”
Lindor had three RBIs. Yonder Alonso, who started the game in a 3-for-36 slump, hit a leadoff homer in the second.
Twins starter Jose Berrios allowed four runs and walked a career-high six batters in four innings.
Cleveland outfielder Leyons Martin was placed on the 10-day disabled list. He has an unspecified illness, and Indians President Chris Antonetti said Martin could be out for longer than 10 days.
Get to town fast
Allen was waiting out a rain delay in Durham, North Carolina, on Wednesday when he was told he would replace Martin.
“I found out about 7:15-7:20,” Allen said. “They told me I had to be on a flight like an hour and a half later. So I had to quickly pack up everything, get to the hotel and pack that stuff up, and get to the airport. It was a pretty quick turn of events.”
Polanco is batting .280 with 13 RBIs in 33 games since being reinstated on July 2. His first home run couldn’t have come at a better time.
“It gives me great confidence because Kluber is one of the best pitchers in the league,” Polanco said. “I’ve just been trying to put good contact on the ball since I came back from the suspension.”
Twins: OF Robbie Grossman (strained right hamstring), who was placed on the disabled list Aug. 6, will join the team in Detroit to continue his rehab.
Indians: RHP Josh Tomlin (strained right hamstring) threw three scoreless innings on a rehab assignment at Double-A Akron on Wednesday.
Twins: RHP Ervin Santana (0-0, 6.14 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season in the series opener at Detroit, facing Tigers RHP Jordan Zimmermann (4-4, 4.31 ERA).
Indians: RHP Shane Bieber (6-2, 4.58 ERA) takes on White Sox LHP Carlos Rodon (3-3, 2.94 ERA) as Cleveland begins a six-game trip.