Late homer helps Twins end skid
MINNEAPOLIS — Josh Willingham’s solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted the Minnesota Twins to a 4-3 baseball win over the Cleveland Indians on Monday at Target Field.
Minnesota snapped a three-game losing streak.
The Twins, who never trailed in the game, scored two runs in the second inning and another in the third. The Indians scored single runs in the third and fifth innings, and they trailed 3-2 heading to the top of the eighth until a one-out double by pinch hitter Michael Brantley gave them life. Brantley moved to third on a groundout to first and scored the tying run on a single to right by Roberto Perez.
Right-hander Casey Fien (5-4) blew the lead in the eighth, but he earned the victory thanks to Willingham’s 374-foot blast that cleared the left field wall by inches. Minnesota closer Glen Perkins worked a spotless ninth for his 23rd save.
Cleveland right-hander Bryan Shaw (4-2) worked one inning, giving up a single run on Willingham’s blast.
Back-to-back singles to start the second inning by Kendrys Morales and Willingham set up Kurt Suzuki, who slapped a double to the gap in right-
center field, scoring both runners and giving the Twins an early 2-0 lead.
The Indians got one run back in the top of the third. Mike Aviles came around to score on a single to right by pinch hitter Chris Dickerson, who entered the game for Asdrubal Cabrera. The Cleveland shortstop departed in the third inning due to lower back spasms.
Trevor Plouffe of the Twins made it a two-run game in the bottom of the third, driving in Danny Santana with a double to the left-center-field gap.
Cleveland pulled back within one in the fifth, as a two-out walk followed by a double from designated hitter Yan Gomes into the left field corner made it 3-2. The Indians stranded runners on the corners when Ryan Raburn flied out to right to end the inning.
Each starting pitcher lasted five innings. Cleveland’s T.J. House gave up three runs on six hits, while Minnesota’s Kris Johnson gave up two runs on five hits.
-- Twins 1B Joe Mauer continued to progress in his rehab of a strained oblique, taking grounders and throwing before the game. Mauer landed on the 15-day disabled list July 2.