Twins 6, Indians 5
CLEVELAND (AP)—Early mistakes and missed opportunities left the Minnesota Twins behind by four runs and totally comfortable with their predicament.
Doug Mientkiewicz drove in two runs, including a tiebreaking double in the ninth inning that led Minnesota over the Cleveland Indians 6-5 Friday night and kept the Twins from losing ground in the AL Central.
It was the 22nd comeback win for the Twins, who are 51-51 and trail Kansas City by 5 1/2 games.
“We play better when we’re losing,” Mientkiewicz said. “We don’t give at-bats away.”
“That was a huge win for us after playing like we did in the early part of the game,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I was beginning to wonder what we were thinking.”
LaTroy Hawkins (8-2) got two outs in the eighth for the win.
Eddie Guardado pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two for his 24th save as the Twins improved to 2-3 against the Indians this season. Cleveland has lost nine of 10 overall.
“I’m just glad we pulled one out,” Guardado said. “We don’t want to do that too much. It takes a lot out of you.”
“I blew the game,” said Riske, who has squandered five save chances.
Indians manager Eric Wedge expressed frustration with his bullpen.
“When we have the lead in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, and we turn the ball over to our setup guys and closer, we need to win those ballgames,” Wedge said. “We need to finish it off.”
Rookie Ryan Ludwick led off the sixth with a 410-foot shot over the 17-foot wall in left-center for his second career homer. His double off the left-field wall in the third put the Indians up 4-0.
Minnesota won despite failing to put away Westbrook, who struggled through the fourth and fifth after setting down eight straight batters early.
The Twins got three straight singles to load the bases with one out in the fourth, but could only score once on Justin Morneau’s fielder’s choice.
Rivas walked and Mientkiewicz singled to load the bases with no outs. Hunter drove in a run on a fielder’s choice to make it 4-3, but Pierzynski hit into a double play to end the inning.
Westbrook tied his longest outing of the season, going 6 2-3 innings and allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks. He had a season-high six strikeouts.
Twins starter Kenny Rogers gave up five runs, four earned, on eight hits and a walk. He threw 118 pitches over six innings.
“He threw a lot of pitches, but kept it together enough to give us a shot to tie the game, then our bullpen came in and did great,” Gardenhire said.
Rogers settled down after three rough innings, retiring eight straight batters before Ludwick’s homer.
“I thought that was the crushing blow, but they kept coming back,” Rogers said of his teammates.
The Indians took an early lead on some poor Minnesota fielding.
Coco Crisp led off the first with bloop double down the right-field line. Casey Blake reached base with a bunt that Rogers couldn’t handle. Milton Bradley then blooped a double down the left-field line, scoring Crisp. Blake scored from first on Jacque Jones’ throwing error.
Crisp had an RBI single in the second. Stewart and Bradley each had threehits.
The Indians scored more than four runs for the first time in 12 games, dating to July 11 when they scored 12. They scored four runs in nine of 11 games. … The Twins are 7-2 since the All-Star break after losing 22 of 28. … Stewart is hitting .469 (15-for-32) since he was acquired from Toronto on July 16. … Ludwick got his first homer of the year and his first two RBIs. He was traded by Texas on July 18. … 2B Angel Santos got his third major leaguehit, and first with the Indians.
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