CLEVELAND (AP)—A painful bounce turned into a lucky one for Minnesota as the Twins remained tied for the AL Central lead.
Doug Mientkiewicz delivered a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning and the Twins overcame right fielder Michael Ryan being hit in the head with a flyball to defeat the Cleveland Indians 5-3 Sunday.
Mientkiewicz also hit a two-run homer for the Twins, who moved 11 games over .500 for the first time this season and remained tied with the Chicago White Sox for first place.
It was 3-all in the Cleveland seventh when Jhonny Peralta led off with a fly ball to right-center.
Ryan shaded his eyes, then lowered his glove and the ball bounced off the side of his face—but was caught on the rebound by center fielder Dustan Mohr for the out.
“It was embarrassing more than anything,” Ryan said. “I had three balls hit my way and lost every one in the sun.”
Ryan had a large welt just above his left eye, and was replaced by Torii Hunter.
Ryan said he felt his eye and thought he was bleeding—but it was just sweat.
“It felt like I was stung when I was hit,” he said. “I wanted to stay in the game, but they wouldn’t let me.”
Shannon Stewart sacrificed the runners over, but Hunter was thrown out at the plate when he tried to score on Luis Rivas’ grounder to second baseman Brandon Phillips. Mientkiewicz followed with his go-ahead hit.
“That was a big moment,” Mientkiewicz said. “Every game is a playoff game for us.”
Baez thought he threw a good pitch on a 2-0 count.
“I threw a sinker and got the ground ball I wanted,” he said. “But it went through. I hit one batter with a sinker, then threw a slider and hit the next guy on the foot. Things are just not going right for me.”
Ryan put Minnesota ahead 1-0 in the fifth with an RBI single.
Mientkiewicz put Minnesota back on top 3-2 with a two-run shot in the sixth. Stewart singled and scored when Mientkiewicz hit his 11th homer, connecting against Cleveland starter Cliff Lee.
“Things went pretty good except for that one pitch,” Lee said. “It was right where I wanted it, but obviously right where he wanted me to throw it, too.”
“I was very pleased,” said Milton, who allowed two runs and five hits over five innings. “I wouldn’t take one pitch back. Even the home run was a good pitch. It was a fastball inside. I tip my hat to him.”
Milton struck out two without a walk in his first outing since facing Anaheim in Game 3 of the AL Division Series last October.
The left-hander had surgery March 5 to repair a deteriorated bone in his left knee as well as having loose cartilage removed.
Lee remained unbeaten in his last five outings, but got his second straight no-decision. The rookie left-hander allowed three runs and five hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out seven.
Mohr made it 5-3 with an RBI single off Jack Cressend in the ninth.
Lee has allowed three or fewer earned runs in all seven of his appearances this season. … Twins OF Jacque Jones sat out with a strained left groin. … Hunter did not start because of a sore knee and hip and 3B Corey Koskie (sore back) came on as a Twins defensive replacement in the eighth. …Mientkiewicz extended his hitting streak to a season-high nine games.