Remember when the Twins were running away with the AL Central? On June 2, they were a major league-best 40-18, a season-high 11 1/2 games ahead of the Indians (29-30). Ten weeks later, after a wild final two innings of Sunday’s game to cap a series in which the Indians took three out of four, the two teams were tied atop the AL Central at 71-47, and after Cleveland’s walk-off win against the Red Sox on Monday night, the idle Twins find themselves a half-game back.
With Cleveland beating Minnesota in the first two games of their series on Thursday night (7-5) and Friday night (6-2), the two teams actually entered Saturday sharing the division lead as well, that for the first time since April 26, when the Indians were 15-10 and the Twins 14-9. With Jake Odorizzi and friends holding Cleveland to one run on Saturday, Minnesota had edged ahead again, but on Sunday, the Indians touched up José Berríos for two first-inning runs, and carried a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth. An Eddie Rosario double and two singles, all off of Indians closer Brad Hand, trimmed the lead to 3-2. With one out, Marwin Gonzalez bashed a ball off the base of the left-center wall. Luis Arraez scored easily from second base to tie the game, but Tyler Naquin made a perfect barehanded grab of the ball after it caromed, then relayed to Francisco Lindor, whose peg to Kevin Plawecki cut down pinch-runner Ehire Adrianza, the potential winning run, at the plate:
The Twins challenged the call on the grounds that Plawecki blocked the plate without the ball, but the call on the field stood; the play was kosher. Carlos Santana’s grand slam off Taylor Rogers in the top of the 10th inning provided the margin of victory in the 7-3 win. It was a Santana homer in the bottom of the ninth that lifted the Indians over the Red Sox on Monday as well. Read the rest of this entry »