|Minnesota (46-51) «||2||0||0||2||0||0||0||3||x||7||13||1|
If he keeps coming up with clutch hits like he did against the Cleveland Indians, there will be no doubting his importance.
Valencia singled home the go-ahead run for the second straight day, this time in the eighth inning, and Minnesota beat Cleveland 7-5 in a sloppy game played on another sweltering day at Target Field.
"You know, hitting behind Jim Thome, obviously you know they are going to pitch around him to get to me," Valencia said. "To be able to come into those situations and capitalize, and for our team to win is all I care about."
|More on Indians at Twins|
Minnesota salvaged a split in the four-game series with the AL Central-leading Indians that was played in extreme heat and humidity. Temperatures were in the mid- to high-90s for each game.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire left the stadium during the game and was replaced by bench coach Scott Ullger. Gardenhire has been dealing with a viral infection and has had trouble dealing with the heat.
Valencia, who won Tuesday night's game with an RBI single in the ninth, lined a ball to right field, which just eluded the glove of second baseman Orlando Cabrera, to score Alexi Casilla, who had three hits, two runs and an RBI. Tsuyoshi Nishioka added a two-run single to cap the Twins' rally.
"I like being in those situations," Valencia said. "Anybody on this team wants to be in that position. Fortunately it's been coming up in my hands and I've been able to take it and run with it, and come through. It was a huge team win. We needed this. We're within striking distance of getting back on top of this division."
Casilla had reached off Cleveland reliever Tony Sipp (4-2) after his long fly ball to the warning track fell between left fielder Luis Valbuena and center fielder Ezequiel Carrera. The ball bounced off the warning track and into the bullpen for a ground-rule double.
"Nobody called the ball," Valbuena said. "I tried to catch, but I feel he's right there next to me and I was scared I was going to run into him."
Sipp allowed three runs on two hits and a walk in just a third of an inning. Indians starter Josh Tomlin pitched six innings, giving up four runs on eight hits.
The misplay between Valbuena -- playing just his third major-league game in the outfield -- and Carrera was just one of several defensive miscues by both teams.
"If you have an everyday outfielder, I'm sure that it probably could have been caught," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said about Casilla's double. "But we know what we're dealing with. Luis is playing out of position he played a lot of left field in Triple-A but it's a different ballgame up here."
Acta said Brantley -- the team's leadoff hitter -- was diagnosed with heat exhaustion after playing in both games of Monday's doubleheader and was still having stomach issues on Wednesday.
Butera was catching with Joe Mauer playing first base for the second straight game. Mauer was given the choice of where to play by Gardenhire.
Mauer had two hits and is hitting .563 (9 for 16) as a first baseman. His defense at first has been sparkling and he scooped a short-hop throw by Casilla to end the seventh inning, stranding two runners in scoring position.
"He looks pretty good," Ullger said. "He looks like he's been there awhile. He's just a natural athlete. I think he could probably play any position. He could probably play shortstop if he wanted to play shortstop. He's just that kind of athlete."
|Danny Valencia hits the game winner for the second straight day to give the Twins a split of the four-game series. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Ezequiel Carrera, CF||4||1||2||0||0||1||2||.259|
|Asdrubal Cabrera, SS||4||1||2||0||0||1||0||.292|
|Travis Hafner, DH||3||2||1||0||1||0||1||.321|
|Carlos Santana, C||4||0||0||0||0||1||5||.225|
|Matt LaPorta, 1B||3||0||0||1||0||1||1||.242|
|Orlando Cabrera, 2B||4||0||1||1||0||0||0||.244|
|Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B||4||1||2||1||0||2||1||.235|
|Austin Kearns, RF||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||.219|
|Luis Valbuena, LF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.136|
|2B - Asdrubal Cabrera (23, Mijares), Travis Hafner (10, Blackburn)|
|HR - Lonnie Chisenhall (2, Nathan)|
|SF - Matt LaPorta (4)|
|SH - Austin Kearns (2)|
|RBI - Matt LaPorta (34), Orlando Cabrera (38), Lonnie Chisenhall (4)|
|CS - Ezequiel Carrera (2, 2nd base by Blackburn/Butera), Austin Kearns (4, 2nd base by Blackburn/Butera)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - LaPorta-Chisenhall-Tomlin, Cabrera-LaPorta|
|Tony Sipp (L,4-2)||0.1||2||3||3||1||1||0||3.23|
|Pitches-Strikes - Josh Tomlin 91-63, Joe Smith 16-10, Tony Sipp 16-10, Vinnie Pestano 18-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Josh Tomlin 6-8|
|Batters Faced - Josh Tomlin 24, Joe Smith 4, Tony Sipp 4, Vinnie Pestano 4|
|Ben Revere, CF||4||1||1||0||0||1||1||.261|
|Alexi Casilla, 2B||4||2||3||1||0||0||0||.259|
|Joe Mauer, 1B||4||1||2||1||0||0||1||.297|
|Michael Cuddyer, RF||4||1||1||0||0||2||3||.297|
|Jim Thome, DH||3||1||1||1||1||0||1||.211|
|Luke Hughes, PR-DH||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.237|
|Danny Valencia, 3B||4||0||1||1||0||0||1||.232|
|Delmon Young, LF||4||0||1||1||0||1||3||.266|
|Jason Repko, LF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.240|
|Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS||4||0||2||2||0||1||1||.233|
|Drew Butera, C||4||0||1||0||0||1||4||.181|
|2B - Alexi Casilla 2 (18, Tomlin, Sipp), Jim Thome (5, Tomlin)|
|RBI - Alexi Casilla (20), Joe Mauer (15), Jim Thome (23), Danny Valencia (51), Delmon Young (23), Tsuyoshi Nishioka 2 (11)|
|2-OUT RBI - Tsuyoshi Nishioka 2 (4)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|PB - Drew Butera (3)|
|E - Ben Revere (4, Dropped fly)|
|Matt Capps (W,3-5)||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0||4.71|
|Joe Nathan (S,6)||1||1||1||1||0||0||1||5.26|
|Pitches-Strikes - Nick Blackburn 104-65, Alex Burnett 6-5, Jose Mijares 12-9, Matt Capps 11-7, Joe Nathan 17-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nick Blackburn 9-1, Alex Burnett 1-0, Jose Mijares 1-2, Matt Capps 1-1, Joe Nathan 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Nick Blackburn 23, Alex Burnett 3, Jose Mijares 4, Matt Capps 2, Joe Nathan 4|
|Attendance - 39167|
|Game Time - 2:51|
|Temperature - 93|
|Umpires - Home - Rob Drake, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Bruce Dreckman, Third Base - Al Porter|