Cleveland at Minnesota

Final 10th
W: J. Nathan (2-0) L: G. Mota (0-3)
HR: CLE - E. Perez (6)   MIN - M. Cuddyer (5)

Twins 6, Indians 5, (10 innings)

CBS wire reports

MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Nathan has been itching for some work all season.

His Minnesota Twins aren't winning a whole lot, and when they do, they seem to win big, leaving one of the dominant closers in baseball stewing in the bullpen most days.

So when he does get in the game, look out.

Nathan struck out five in two innings of perfect relief and Justin Morneau's sacrifice fly in the 10th inning lifted Minnesota to a 6-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night, the Twins' first win over their AL Central rivals in seven meetings.

Nathan has made only 14 appearances in 45 games this season, and just five of those have been in save situations. A save wasn't on the line when he took the mound on Tuesday night, but that was fine by him.

"It's just satisfying to get out there right now," said Nathan (2-0). "Just getting out on the mound right now is good for me."

After Guillermo Mota (0-3) got Joe Mauer to fly out to start the inning, Torii Hunter walked for the third time in the game. He advanced to third on a single by Michael Cuddyer, and then scored when Morneau lifted a lazy fly ball to fairly deep center.

Grady Sizemore had no chance to throw out the speedy Hunter, who touched off a spirited celebration for the reeling Twins when he reached home plate. Minnesota had lost six of eight coming in to fall 11 games behind AL Central-leading Detroit.

"We have a base to work with and we don't want to give Morneau anything good to hit," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "He's a free-swinger. Mota got ahead, but he didn't execute. He gave him a pitch to hit."

Sizemore had two hits and two RBI and Eduardo Perez homered for the Indians, but their bullpen couldn't hold a 5-4 lead.

In a rare two-inning stint, Nathan struck out five in a game for the first time since June 29, 2000, at Colorado, when he was a starter for San Francisco.

"He was filthy," Cuddyer said. "I didn't think any one of their batters, at any point, knew what was coming."

Using a devastating breaking ball and a pinpoint fastball, Nathan struck out Aaron Boone and Sizemore in the ninth. He then blew away Jason Michaels, Casey Blake and Travis Hafner in the 10th to help the Twins overcome an unusually ordinary start from ace Johan Santana and beat the Indians for the first time since Sept. 4.

Santana was spotted a 4-0 lead after three innings, but he gave up five runs and nine hits with just five strikeouts in seven innings.

Prior to this outing, Santana had been simply outstanding in May, going 3-1 with a 1.86 ERA and 42 strikeouts in four starts. This was the first time in four starts he failed to strike out at least 10.

"He's not Superman," Cuddyer said. "Sometimes he looks like he is, and sometimes we think he is, but it shows where we are as a team. We're still not going to quit. We're going to fight until the last out."

After the Twins made it 4-0 in the third on a two-run homer by Cuddyer, Santana appeared well on his way to racking up another victory.

But Cleveland got on the board with Sizemore's two-run double in the fifth.

Perez's towering two-run homer highlighted a three-run sixth inning that gave the Indians a 5-4 lead.

The Twins tied the game when Morneau scored from third when Tony Batista hit into a double play against reliever Fernando Cabrera. The run was charged to starter Cliff Lee, who gave up five runs and seven hits in five-plus innings.

Cabrera, Scott Sauerbeck and Rafael Betancourt combined for four innings of scoreless relief, but Mota allowed just the second run by the Indians' bullpen in the last 24 2/3 innings.

"Our guys did a good job against one of the best pitchers in baseball," Wedge said. "We had a good opportunity to win a game with one of the best pitchers in baseball out there and we let it slip away."


The Twins' first three hitters were a combined 1-for-14. ... Hunter extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the second. ... Lou Merloni's single in the fifth was his first hit in eight at-bats since being called up by the Indians on May 17. ... Lee has gone at least five innings in 41 consecutive starts.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

M. Cuddyer
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1

G. Sizemore
AB 5
R 0
H 2
HR 0

Related Video

Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF5022011 .294
Jason Michaels, LF5010024 .268
Casey Blake, RF5100023 .351
Travis Hafner, DH3111211 .310
Victor Martinez, C4000013 .298
Eduardo Perez, 1B3112000 .324
   a- Ben Broussard, PH-1B1000011 .376
Ron Belliard, 2B4110001 .267
Aaron Boone, 3B4110020 .252
Lou Merloni, SS3020010 .222
    Jhonny Peralta, SS1000000 .249
a-struck out for Perez in the 8th
2B - Grady Sizemore (10, Santana), Jason Michaels (11, Santana), Travis Hafner (10, Santana)
HR - Eduardo Perez (6, Santana)
RBI - Grady Sizemore 2 (25), Travis Hafner (40), Eduardo Perez 2 (19)
2-OUT RBI - Grady Sizemore 2 (13)
SB - Lou Merloni (1, 2nd base off Santana/Mauer)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Merloni-Belliard-Perez
Cleveland Indians
Cliff Lee 5755321 4.65
Fernando Cabrera (BS,1) 2100120 7.07
Scott Sauerbeck 0.1000010 3.72
Rafael Betancourt 1.2000020 3.86
Guillermo Mota (L,0-3) 0.2111100 5.89
Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 98-60, Fernando Cabrera 24-16, Scott Sauerbeck 3-3, Rafael Betancourt 23-17, Guillermo Mota 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 5-8, Fernando Cabrera 1-2, Rafael Betancourt 2-1
Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 25, Fernando Cabrera 7, Scott Sauerbeck 1, Rafael Betancourt 5, Guillermo Mota 4
Minnesota Twins
Lew Ford, LF5000013 .223
Luis Castillo, 2B5000010 .314
Joe Mauer, C4010100 .336
Torii Hunter, CF2310301 .275
Michael Cuddyer, RF5122014 .312
Justin Morneau, 1B4111011 .243
Rondell White, DH4120010 .192
Tony Batista, 3B3000110 .246
Juan Castro, SS3022000 .237
   a- Jason Kubel, PH1000010 .176
    Nick Punto, SS0000000 .293
a-struck out for Castro in the 9th
2B - Justin Morneau (7, Lee), Juan Castro (3, Lee)
HR - Michael Cuddyer (5, Lee)
SF - Justin Morneau (3)
RBI - Michael Cuddyer 2 (19), Justin Morneau (34), Juan Castro 2 (11)
2-OUT RBI - Michael Cuddyer 2 (9), Juan Castro 2 (6)
Team LOB - 7
Outfield Assists - Torii Hunter 1
DP - Hunter-Morneau, Batista-Castillo-Morneau
E - Tony Batista (3, wild throw)
Minnesota Twins
Johan Santana 7954151 3.42
Juan Rincon 1000110 2.45
Joe Nathan (W,2-0) 2000050 2.40
Pitches-Strikes - Johan Santana 104-75, Juan Rincon 13-7, Joe Nathan 30-23
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johan Santana 6-9, Juan Rincon 1-1
Batters Faced - Johan Santana 30, Juan Rincon 4, Joe Nathan 6
Game Information
Attendance - 19334
Game Time - 3:13
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Hunter Wendelstedt, First Base - Sam Holbrook, Second Base - Randy Marsh, Third Base - Angel Hernandez