|Cleveland (71-59) «||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||2||x||3||7||4|
The Indians committed four errors and made several other mistakes, both in the field and on the bases. In other words, they did just about everything a team could do to lose.
As has been the case several times this season, however, manager Terry Francona's team defied the odds. Drew Stubbs hit a tiebreaking, two-out home run in the eighth inning and the Indians overcame themselves for a 3-1 victory.
"We were trying every way we could to give it away," Stubbs said. "We played a very sloppy game, but it says a lot about this team that we were able to hang in there and pull out the win."
Second baseman Jason Kipnis, who had one of the errors and drove in a run, had a similar point of view.
"When you try to lose and still win the game, that's pretty impressive," he said.
The win moved Cleveland to within 1½ games of Oakland for the AL's second wild-card spot as the Indians start a crucial road trip to Atlanta and Detroit that begins Tuesday.
"It wasn't pretty, but it's a heck of a lot better when you win," Francona said. "We know we can't play like that, but we won and that's what we came to do."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire struggled to come up with a reason for why his team lost.
"I don't know who was supposed to win the game," he said. "I know they won it with a couple of hits, but I don't know who was supposed to win. Sounds like we were. You make four errors, you're not supposed to win."
Stubbs hit a home run to dead center on a 0-1 pitch from Jared Burton (2-7) to snap a 1-1 tie and lift the Indians to their fifth victory in six games. Joe Smith (5-1) pitched a scoreless eighth and Chris Perez worked the ninth for his 21st save.
Stubbs is making a habit of late-game saves. His two-run homer in the 14th inning on Wednesday was the key blow in a 4-1 victory.
"It's just the way it goes sometimes," he said. "There's no real explanation for it."
Burton retired the first two hitters in the eighth before Stubbs hit his ninth home run of the season to the deepest part of the ballpark. Michael Bourn turned his routine hit to center by hustling into second for a double and scored on Nick Swisher's single.
Pitchers Scott Kazmir and Cody Allen and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera had throwing errors while Kipnis dropped a soft line drive. The Twins failed to take advantage of the Indians' generosity. Minnesota stranded 13 runners and was 3 for 19 with runners in scoring position.
"That's been our Achilles' heel," Gardenhire said. "We've left a lot of men out there and runners in scoring position hasn't been a very good stat for us this year. We've been terrible."
Neither starter was involved in the decision. Kazmir allowed one run and struck out eight in six innings while Mike Pelfrey walked six in five innings, but held Cleveland to one run and two hits.
The Indians, who stranded 12 baserunners, took a 1-0 lead in the third on Kipnis' RBI single.
Cleveland's shoddy defense helped Minnesota tie the game in the fifth. Clete Thomas led off with a single, took second on a sacrifice and moved to third on Brian Dozier's single. Thomas scored when Doug Bernier pushed a bunt to the right side of the mound. Swisher fielded the ball, but no one covered first and Bernier reached with a single.
A double and Cabrera's bad throw put runners at second and third with one out in the Twins' fourth, but Kazmir worked out of the jam. Wilkin Ramirez flied out to shallow right field and Chris Colabello struck out.
The Twins played the final game of a stretch that saw them play 27 games in 27 days.
Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said that All-Star C Joe Mauer (concussion) is resting at home and is expected to return to Target Field on Tuesday when the team begins a brief three-game homestand against Kansas City. Mauer is on the seven-day concussion list, but it's likely he won't be activated until the end of the week at the earliest. ... Morneau wasn't in the lineup against Kazmir. He pinch-hit in the eighth and reached on Kipnis' error. ... RHP Josh Tomlin, who is attempting to come back from Tommy John surgery, was activated from the 60-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Columbus. He is expected to rejoin the Indians when rosters are expanded in September.
|The Indians commit a number of mistakes, including this gaffe by Nick Swisher, who fails trying to turn a single into a double. (USATSI)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Brian Dozier, 2B||4||0||1||0||1||1||3||.243|
|Doug Bernier, 3B||5||0||2||1||0||1||1||.244|
|Josh Willingham, LF||5||0||1||0||0||2||4||.214|
|Ryan Doumit, C||3||0||1||0||2||1||3||.245|
|Trevor Plouffe, DH||5||0||0||0||0||2||7||.229|
|Wilkin Ramirez, RF||3||0||1||0||0||0||3||.263|
|a-Chris Herrmann, PH-RF||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.230|
|Chris Colabello, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||2||4||.204|
|b-Justin Morneau, PH-1B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.263|
|Clete Thomas, CF||4||1||1||0||0||1||2||.229|
|Pedro Florimon, SS||3||0||2||0||0||1||1||.225|
|a-struck out for Ramirez in the 8th|
|b-lined out for Colabello in the 8th|
|2B - Josh Willingham (19, Kazmir), Wilkin Ramirez (6, Kazmir), Pedro Florimon (14, Kazmir)|
|SH - Pedro Florimon (5)|
|RBI - Doug Bernier (4)|
|Team LOB - 13|
|Outfield Assists - Wilkin Ramirez 1|
|E - Mike Pelfrey (2, Throwing)|
|Jared Burton (L,2-7)||1||3||2||2||0||1||1||3.16|
|WP - Josh Roenicke (7)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mike Pelfrey 94-49, Josh Roenicke 30-17, Caleb Thielbar 22-13, Jared Burton 24-16|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Pelfrey 6-6, Josh Roenicke 2-0, Jared Burton 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Mike Pelfrey 23, Josh Roenicke 6, Caleb Thielbar 4, Jared Burton 6|
|Michael Bourn, CF||5||2||1||0||0||1||4||.269|
|Nick Swisher, 1B||3||0||2||1||2||0||0||.244|
|Jason Kipnis, 2B||4||0||1||1||1||1||2||.285|
|Carlos Santana, DH||3||0||1||0||1||1||2||.266|
|Michael Brantley, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||5||.271|
|Asdrubal Cabrera, SS||4||0||1||0||0||2||2||.238|
|Yan Gomes, C||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.289|
|Lonnie Chisenhall, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.218|
|a-Jason Giambi, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.186|
|Drew Stubbs, RF||1||1||1||1||3||0||0||.243|
|a-struck out for Chisenhall in the 8th|
|2B - Michael Bourn (18, Burton)|
|HR - Drew Stubbs (9, Burton)|
|RBI - Nick Swisher (46), Jason Kipnis (75), Drew Stubbs (41)|
|2-OUT RBI - Nick Swisher (16), Jason Kipnis (24), Drew Stubbs (14)|
|Team LOB - 12|
|E - Cody Allen (3, Throwing), Asdrubal Cabrera (8, Missed catch of throw), Scott Kazmir (2, Throwing), Jason Kipnis (12, Dropped line drive)|
|Joe Smith (W,5-1)||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||2.49|
|Chris Perez (S,21)||1||0||0||0||1||1||0||3.22|
|Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 99-75, Cody Allen 22-14, Joe Smith 26-17, Chris Perez 18-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 3-8, Chris Perez 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 27, Cody Allen 5, Joe Smith 5, Chris Perez 4|
|Attendance - 21042|
|Game Time - 3:30|
|Temperature - 82|
|Umpires - Home - James Hoye, First Base - Jim Reynolds, Second Base - John Hirschbeck, Third Base - Quinn Wolcott|