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Escobar homer lifts Twins to 10-inning win over Indians

CLEVELAND - The Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians worked overtime Monday night, but it was worth the extra effort -- at least for the Twins.

Eduardo Escobar's home run off right-hander John Axford leading off the top of the 10th inning lifted the Twins to a 1-0 victory. FourMinnesota pitchers combined on a three-hitter.

"You watch those games unfold and you know it's going to take one run," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "We tried just about everything we could. We used our whole bench. That was a hell of a baseball game. Fortunately we got the big home run."

Escobar, the Twins' shortstop who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, hit Axford's second pitch of the 10th inning into the seats in right field.

"It's a great feeling to be able to come up with a big swing in that spot," he said.

It's the second consecutive day Axford (0-3), Cleveland's closer, has given up a home run in the last inning of the game. Sunday he gave up a three-run ninth-inning home run to Chicago's Dayan Viciedo in the White Sox's 4-3 win over the Indians.

"It's just a shame that my performance the last two days has taken away from two outstanding pitching performances by our starters," said Axford.

"He was trying to go down and away with his fastball but he missed by a lot, and that's what happens," said manager Terry Francona of Axford's fateful pitch to Escobar.

"It was just like yesterday," said Axford. "My fastball stayed straight."

Gardenhire said he wasn't surprised by the home run, which was the first of the season for the 5-10, 175-pound Escobar.

"He can swing it, we've all seen that," said Gardenhire. "You watch him in batting practice, he hits them as far as anybody. It's a big moment. It's cool. You see the big smile on his face and everyone else."

Left-hander Caleb Thielbar (2-0) pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth for Minnesota to get the win. Left-hander Glen Perkins pitched the 10th for his eighth save.

Right-hander Zach McAllister started for Cleveland and pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings on five hits with eight strikeouts and one walk. McAllister ran out of gas in the seventh inning.

With two outs and nobody on base, McAllister gave up a double to designated hitter Josmil Pinto, and he walked right fielder Chris Herrmann. With McAllister's pitch count at 114, Francona called for right-hander Bryan Shaw.

Shaw retired pinch hitter Escobar, batting for shortstop Pedro Florimon, on a groundout to second baseman Mike Aviles to end the inning.

"Zach was so good," Francona said. "That's two in a row where our starter has pitched about as good as they can, but unfortunately we don't have much wiggle room now."

Twins second baseman Brian Dozier led off the top of the eighth by hitting a sharp grounder to third that was booted by third baseman Carlos Santana for an error. Sam Fuld's sacrifice bunt moved Dozier to second, but Shaw struck out third baseman Trevor Plouffe and retired first baseman Chris Colabello on a grounder back to the mound.

Right-hander Kyle Gibson dominated Cleveland's hitters even more than McAllister dominated Minnesota's hitters. Gibson pitched seven scoreless innings on two hits, with one strikeout and three walks.

The early innings were a pitcher's duel.

Minnesota's best chance to score came when Colabello led off the second inning with a single. But McAllister retired the next three batters in a row, two of them on strikeouts.

Cleveland's best chance to score in the first five innings came in the fourth inning, when Santana drew a walk and stole second with one out. But Gibson retired both designated hitter Lonnie Chisenhall and Cabrera on fly balls to left field to end the inning.

NOTES: Prior to the game, the Indians activated C Yan Gomes off the paternity list and placed designated hitter Jason Giambi on the disabled list with a strained right calf. ... RHP Josh Tomlin will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus and will start Tuesday night vs. the Twins. Tomlin is replacing RHP Carlos Carrasco in the rotation. Carrasco has been moved to the bullpen. ... Twins 1B Joe Mauer did not play Monday due to back spasms.

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