Cleveland at Minnesota

Final 12th
W: R. Hernandez (2-1) L: J. Crain (0-1)
HR: CLE - V. Martinez (2)   MIN - T. Hunter (3)

Indians 7, Twins 3 (12 innings)

CBS wire reports

MINNEAPOLIS -- Cleveland's bullpen was a major problem last season, but the Indians now have some relievers they can rely on.

Ryan Garko drove in the go-ahead run for the second consecutive game, blooping a soft single in the 12th inning that sent the Indians to a 7-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.

Roberto Hernandez (2-1) threw two scoreless innings for the win after Aaron Fultz pitched a three-up, three-down eighth and Rafael Betancourt was perfect in the ninth and 10th.

"They definitely got some upgrades," said Nick Punto, one of four Twins who went hitless.

Cleveland's bullpen ranked 24th in the majors with a 4.66 ERA in 2006 and was last with a mere 24 saves. The Indians blew 23 saves on their way to a 78-84 finish, but they signed Hernandez, Fultz and closer Joe Borowski this winter in an effort to improve.

"When you bring in guys like Joe, Aaron and Roberto, those guys help a lot," Betancourt said. "Last year? I'm not going to say we didn't have a good bullpen, but right now we're in the situation where everybody knows when you're going to come in the game -- and you'll prepare yourself better."

Travis Hafner, who matched his career high with four hits, started the 12th with a walk against Jesse Crain (0-1). Jason Michaels followed Garko's hit with an RBI double, and Shin-Soo Choo added a two-run single off Joe Nathan with the bases loaded to break it open. It took the Twins seven batters to get an out in the inning.

"You always like to win the baseball game on a long night, but we just couldn't hold 'em any longer," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Victor Martinez's three-run homer in the fifth gave the Indians a 3-0 lead against Carlos Silva, who finished that inning and gave up seven hits and two walks while striking out six.

Torii Hunter's homer and Alexi Casilla's two-run double off Jeremy Sowers tied it at 3-all with two outs in the seventh, though, to bring Minnesota right back.

The native of nearby North Dakota who always hits well at the Metrodome, Hafner kept up his torrid pace. He has reached base in 23 of his last 33 plate appearances and has 16 hits in his last seven games.

But excluding Martinez's big hit, the Indians again struggled to drive in runs until the 12th.

Martinez left three men on base in his first two at-bats, both inning-ending outs, and bounced into a double play after Hafner's single in the seventh. Garko struck out with the bases loaded against Pat Neshek to end the ninth after connecting on a 1-1 pitch that hooked foul by a few feet to the left of the pole.

Garko, whose three-run homer Sunday gave Cleveland a ninth-inning lead in a 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, came through in his next at-bat.

"He's a grinder," manager Eric Wedge said. "He gets in there and battles, and he doesn't give in."

Silva's night started auspiciously when he struck out the first batter, Grady Sizemore. The Indians outfielder entered with 17 hits in 32 previous at-bats against Silva, including seven for extra bases, and went 0-for-2 with a walk against the right-hander.

One of Minnesota's biggest concerns just three weeks ago, Silva has helped solidify the rotation with a strong April after a miserable 2006 season.

Martinez, however, made Silva pay for his only mistake by crushing a 1-2 fastball left over the plate an estimated 440 feet into the upper deck.

Silva hung his head and stormed around the mound in disgust. He was so mad that when plate umpire Lance Barksdale tossed him a new ball, he swatted at it and missed the catch.

"The bullpen did a really nice job, but we should've won the game three-nothing," said Silva, whose ERA is 2.74 after four starts.

Sowers bounced back from a bad start last week against the New York Yankees by taking a shutout into the seventh. But Hunter's home run ruined that, and the Twins quickly tied it with a two-out rally capped by Casilla's double.

Sowers finished that inning and gave up a total of nine hits and one walk with two strikeouts.

"I'm just glad our bullpen pitched lights out," Sowers said.


Hunter hit his major league-leading 12th double in the second that also extended his hitting streak to 10 games. ... Cleveland left-hander Cliff Lee, out with a strained right abdominal muscle suffered early in spring training, will make one more rehab start in the minors Friday before rejoining the rotation. ... Casilla started at second base for the fourth consecutive game in Luis Castillo's place. Castillo, who has a strained left quadriceps, is still day to day.

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

T. Hunter
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1

V. Martinez
AB 5
R 2
H 2
HR 1

Related Video

Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF6000133 .250
Casey Blake, 3B7120013 .207
Travis Hafner, DH4240200 .390
Victor Martinez, C-1B5223104 .342
Ryan Garko, 1B5121123 .293
    Kelly Shoppach, C0000000 .227
Trot Nixon, RF3010011 .243
   a- Jason Michaels, PH-RF3121000 .313
Jhonny Peralta, SS5000125 .196
Shin-Soo Choo, LF5012133 .200
Josh Barfield, 2B4000011 .132
   b- Mike Rouse, PH-2B2000012 .000
a-singled for Nixon in the 8th
b-grounded out for Barfield in the 11th
2B - Casey Blake (4, Rincon), Travis Hafner (2, Silva), Jason Michaels (2, Crain)
HR - Victor Martinez (2, Silva)
RBI - Victor Martinez 3 (13), Ryan Garko (5), Jason Michaels (5), Shin-Soo Choo 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Victor Martinez 3 (7)
CS - Shin-Soo Choo (1, 2nd base by Perkins/Mauer)
Team LOB - 13
DP - Peralta, Sowers-Peralta-Garko, Rouse-Peralta-Garko
E - Grady Sizemore (1, Misplayed grounder)
Cleveland Indians
Jeremy Sowers 7933121 4.76
Aaron Fultz 1000000 1.35
Rafael Betancourt 2000020 1.23
Roberto Hernandez (W,2-1) 2000110 3.86
Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Sowers 92-58, Aaron Fultz 11-8, Rafael Betancourt 20-15, Roberto Hernandez 21-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Sowers 7-10, Aaron Fultz 1-2, Rafael Betancourt 2-2, Roberto Hernandez 3-1
Batters Faced - Jeremy Sowers 29, Aaron Fultz 3, Rafael Betancourt 6, Roberto Hernandez 6
Minnesota Twins
Alexi Casilla, 2B5022000 .258
Nick Punto, 3B5000002 .186
Joe Mauer, C4020101 .400
Michael Cuddyer, RF5010023 .316
Justin Morneau, 1B5000002 .274
Torii Hunter, CF5121011 .303
Mike Redmond, DH5000001 .231
Jason Kubel, LF4100111 .227
Jason Bartlett, SS4120010 .235
2B - Alexi Casilla (1, Sowers), Torii Hunter (12, Sowers), Jason Bartlett (2, Sowers)
HR - Torii Hunter (3, Sowers)
RBI - Alexi Casilla 2 (2), Torii Hunter (14)
2-OUT RBI - Alexi Casilla 2 (2)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Mauer-Bartlett, Punto-Casilla-Morneau
E - Michael Cuddyer (1, Misplayed grounder)
Minnesota Twins
Carlos Silva 5733261 2.74
Glen Perkins 2.1100110 5.40
Juan Rincon 1.1200130 2.35
Dennys Reyes0000100 8.53
Pat Neshek 1.1000020 3.24
Jesse Crain (L,0-1) 1344100 6.43
Joe Nathan 1100120 2.89
IBB - Hafner by Juan Rincon
WP - Carlos Silva (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Carlos Silva 95-62, Glen Perkins 25-14, Juan Rincon 23-11, Dennys Reyes 7-3, Pat Neshek 18-10, Jesse Crain 26-16, Joe Nathan 24-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Carlos Silva 5-5, Glen Perkins 2-2, Pat Neshek 2-0, Jesse Crain 1-2
Batters Faced - Carlos Silva 25, Glen Perkins 7, Juan Rincon 7, Dennys Reyes 1, Pat Neshek 4, Jesse Crain 7, Joe Nathan 5
Game Information
Attendance - 16076
Game Time - 3:49
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Lance Barksdale, First Base - Jim Reynolds, Second Base - Chris Guccione, Third Base - Gary Cederstrom