MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jorge Polanco did it again.
Polanco doubled with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning to score Max Kepler and give the Minnesota Twins a 5-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night.
It was the second straight walk-off win for the Twins, who have won eight of 11. Polanco had a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning to beat Tampa Bay on Sunday and is the first Twins player with at least four walk-offs in a season since Kent Hrbek had five in 1987.
Minnesota last had consecutive walk-off wins Sept. 13-14, 2017.
“Another big moment for him and we needed it. We needed someone to come up big and make it decisive and he did,” said manager Rocco Baldelli.
Minnesota, which left the bases loaded in the ninth, had them loaded with no outs in the 10th. Rob Refsnyder hit a sharp ground ball to third baseman Jose Ramirez, who stepped on the bag and threw home to get Ryan Jeffers.
Polanco then lined a double down the right-field line off Nick Wittgren (2-6).
Caleb Thielbar (5-0), Minnesota’s fourth reliever, pitched a 1-2-3 final inning, including strikeouts of Franmil Reyes and Bradley Zimmer.
Kepler and Ryan Jeffers homered, and Josh Donaldson had three hits for Minnesota.
“We’re having fun, we’re playing loose. We’re all pulling in the right direction right now. It’s hard to sit here and say these games don’t matter because every game matters,” Jeffers said.
Zimmer and Amed Rosario each had two hits for Cleveland.
“Just didn’t get a big hit, that sometimes you do and sometimes you don’t” interim manager DeMarlo Hale said.
Cal Quantrill survived an early scare to battle through five innings for the Indians, allowing three earned runs on eight hits. He struck out four.
“That’s the worst I’ve felt in a couple of months now, but that’s part of the game. You’re not going to have your ‘A’ game every day,” said Quantrill, who’d allowed two earned runs and 10 hits over 19 innings in three previous August starts.
A first-inning line drive from Donaldson drilled Quantrill in the left wrist. After a visit from the trainer, the right-hander stayed in the game.
That came three batters after Kepler hit his second leadoff home run in three games, but Zimmer countered with a two-run blast to center in the second. Polanco slid headfirst into home to score from first on a single to right-center in the third to tie the game.
Minnesota starter Griffin Jax gave up seven hits and four runs — two earned — in six innings. The Twins committed four errors behind him.
His last hitter, Austin Hedges, had an RBI double to give Cleveland a 4-3 lead, but Andrés Giménez was thrown out at the plate.
Jeffers homered in Minnesota’s half of the sixth.
Cleveland recalled RF Daniel Johnson from Triple-A Columbus for his third stint with the Indians this season and optioned LHP Logan Allen to the Clippers.
Minnesota swapped a pair of first-year players by recalling IF/OF Nick Gordon from Triple-A St. Paul for the fourth time and optioning OF Trevor Larnach to the Saints.
Twins: CF Byron Buxton, out since June 22 with a left hand fracture, is expected to “get a pretty good workout” on Tuesday, manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We’re going to test him to see just exactly where he is, and if there’s anything still to be needed before we take the next step in his progression.” … First-base coach Tommy Watkins left in the third inning with an illness and was replaced by major league field coordinator Kevin Morgan.
Game two of the three-game series is Tuesday. RHP Eli Morgan (1-5, 6.52) is scheduled to start for the Indians against Minnesota’s RHP Bailey Ober (1-1, 4.53).
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