Indians 3, Twins 2, 14 innings
Well, they certainly earned one.
Laker, who missed an earlier chance to win it, hit an RBI single with two outs in the 14th Sunday to give the Cleveland Indians a 3-2 win over the Minnesota Twins.
Laker, who left the bases loaded when he popped up off Juan Rincon (2-4) for the final out of the 10th inning, came through the second time against the right-hander as Cleveland won two of three in the series.
Laker’s single was especially satisfying for the Indians, who have feuded with the Twins during the past two seasons. Before the All-Star break, the teams exchanged shoves and brushback pitches during a series in Minneapolis.
“It’s real nice,” Laker said. “I don’t know if we have a dislike for them. We had that little tiff up there. But I think we like beating them more than anyone else.”
Rafael Betancourt (1-1) pitched the 14th for his first major league win.
Zach Sorensen also walked to load the bases, and Laker lined Rincon’s next pitch into left.
Asked what he learned in his previous at-bat against Rincon, Laker said, “Not to miss that pitch.”
“I kind of thought he would start me off with a fastball,” said Laker, who hasn’t caught 14 innings in a game since the minor leagues. “He left it over the plate and up. Good thing I hit it, I was getting tired and I have a plane to catch to California.”
Crisp, who had three hits and extended his hitting streak to 10 games, said he was as drained as Laker.
“I started thinking about food,” Crisp said. “I was getting hungry. I’m glad we got it over so I can go eat.”
Rookie Jhonny Peralta homered for the Indians, who improved to just 3-8 since the All-Star break and set a club record with five sacrifice bunts.
Minnesota dropped to 7-4 since the break and fell 6 1/2 games behind first-place Kansas City in the AL Central.
“We can’t afford any losses,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I’m not happy. We battled. We’re supposed to battle. We have to win.”
The Twins couldn’t put it away in the ninth as closer Eddie Guardado made a fielding error that helped Cleveland load the bases. The Indians tied it on rookie pinch-hitter Victor Martinez’s sacrifice fly.
It was Minnesota’s first loss in 46 games when leading after eight innings.
“I didn’t do the job,” Guardado said. “Things happen sometimes, but you can’t let them. My bad.”
Minnesota is still in the race, but the Twins know they’ll soon be out of time.
“We’ve got to win this game,” Torii Hunter said. “That’s all there is to it. We can’t take Cleveland lightly, not that we did. It’s tougher this year. Everybody is gunning for us. We’re the division champs and they want to beat our behinds.”
Minnesota starter Rick Reed allowed one run and six hits in seven innings.
Indians rookie starter Jason Davis gave up two runs and 10 hits while going nine innings for the second time this season.
Peralta lined his first career homer onto the terrace in left to tie it 1-1 in the third. The 21-year-old is one of 13 rookies on Cleveland’s 25-man roster.
The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the third on Davis’ wild pitch.
Indians second baseman John McDonald made a dazzling defensive play with a behind-the-back throw to get forceout at second base in the second inning.
With two outs and a runner at first, Cristian Guzman hit a grounder that McDonald backhanded on the run in the outfield grass. While still at full speed, McDonald flipped the ball behind his back to Peralta for the force.
“That’s one of the best plays I’ve ever seen,” Laker said.
Twins OF Jacque Jones was taken out in the bottom of the eighth inning complaining of a sore groin. He was recently on the disabled list with the injury. … Portions of Eddie Murray’s Hall of Fame induction speech in Cooperstown, N.Y., were shown on the jumbo scoreboard. Cleveland fans responded with chants of “Ed-die, Ed-die.” … Twins RF Shannon Stewart had two hits and is batting .419 (18-for-43) since coming over in a July 16 trade with Toronto. … Peralta, who turned 21 in May, is the AL’s youngest positionplayer.