MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jorge Polanco drove in the game-ending run for the third time in four games, lining a bases-loaded single in the 11th inning on Wednesday to give the Minnesota Twins an 8-7 win over the Cleveland Indians.
The Twins survived after blowing a two-run lead in the ninth and nearly won it in the 10th. Cleveland third baseman Ernie Clement leaped to rob Luis Arraez of a hit and center fielder Myles Straw made a two-out diving catch of a liner from Ryan Jeffers.
Danny Coulombe (3-1), Minnesota’s eighth pitcher, tossed one inning and was aided by Nick Gordon robbing Bradley Zimmer with a two-out sliding catch in left center.
Cleveland’s seventh pitcher, Justin Garza (2-1), took the loss.
“We had to do a lot of things well today to get this win and we got it. We got Polo coming up. I mean, what else would happen?” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
Polanco, who also had a first-inning RBI single, ended Monday’s game against Cleveland with a 10th-inning double. A day earlier, his walk-off sacrifice fly in the ninth gave the Twins a win over Tampa Bay. Polanco’s five walk-off RBIs this season ties the club record set by Kent Hrbek in 1987.
Polanco became the third player since 1920 with a walk-off RBI in three straight regular-season team wins, joining Milwaukee’s George Scott from Aug. 11-14, 1973 and Pittsburgh’s Tony Pena from June 2-6, 1982, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“He’s a special hitter. In those moments, he needs to take care of the team, and he puts it on his back, and he knows what he needs to do,” said Miguel Sanó, who homered and had three RBIs.
José Ramírez had an RBI double in the ninth against Minnesota closer Alex Colomé, who entered with nine consecutive scoreless appearances. Two batters later — and with two outs — Ramírez scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-7.
The Indians scored once in each of the first five innings, including home runs by Ramírez and Franmil Reyes and RBI doubles by Owen Miller and Amed Rosario. Reyes was 1 for his previous 32 before his 442-foot shot in the fifth that made it 5-2.
But Minnesota had six straight hits, including a two-run double by Sanó, as part of a five-run fifth for a 7-5 lead.
Zach Plesac gave up six runs, five earned, in 4 2/3 innings and has allowed 17 earned runs in 21 1/3 innings across four August starts.
“It was a battle for him, but we got some runs early and then they had that big five-run inning,” interim Indians manager DeMarlo Hale said. “Trying to get him through that fifth. Left a ball up over the plate against Sano 0-2, slider that didn’t really do nothing.”
One inning prior, Sanó deposited a fastball an estimated 475 feet away in the upper deck in right-center.
Lewis Thorpe, recalled from Triple-A St. Paul to start for Minnesota, exited with left shoulder soreness after walking three of four batters in the second and will be going on the injured list. The lefty recently pitched two minor league games after missing nearly two months with a strain of the same shoulder.
MORE COVID-19 CASES
Baldelli said two more staff members are out with “COVID-related issues.” First-base coach Tommy Watkins left Monday’s game and tested positive for the coronavirus; hitting coach Edgar Varela contracted COVID-19 while away from the team caring for family members who were stricken with the virus.
“We’re hoping in every way and doing our best as a staff to make sure that we keep it localized. There’s no way to know. There’s no way to feel confident I think about anything related to COVID, but we’re going to do everything that we can to make sure that we keep this at the level that it’s at,” he said.
Minnesota had three games postponed April 17-19 because of COVID-19.
Indians: RHP Aaron Civale (right finger sprain) threw about 35 pitches on Tuesday and is expected to throw a bullpen session soon. If all goes well, Civale could begin a rehab assignment, general manager Mike Chernoff said. … C Roberto Perez (right shoulder inflammation), 1B Bobby Bradley (left knee strain) and OF Harold Ramirez (right hamstring strain) have all progressed to some running and baseball activity.
Twins: CF Byron Buxton (left hand fracture) is scheduled to take live batting practice with St. Paul on Thursday. … To make room for Thorpe, the Twins designated RHP Nick Vincent for assignment.
Indians: Cleveland opens a three-game series Friday when it returns home to face the Angels. Neither team has announced a starter.
Twins: Open a four-game series in the Bronx Thursday with RHP John Gant (4-6, 3.49) facing New York RHP Jameson Taillon (7-4, 3.89 ERA).
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