Sano walks off Twins with single, 6-5 over Indians
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) A night after his walk-off home run, Oswaldo Arcia offered some advice to Minnesota Twins teammate Miguel Sano facing a similar situation.
Sano then gave Minnesota another walk-off win against the Cleveland Indians.
Sano's one-out single in the ninth scored Brian Dozier to give the Twins a 6-5 victory over Cleveland.
''Arcia told me you can be a leader, the big guy in the game,'' Sano said of Arcia's ninth-inning message. ''He don't pitch to (Joe) Mauer. He tried to pitch me.''
Sano was ready for the pitch from closer Cody Allen (0-2).
Dozier doubled with one out in the ninth and Allen intentionally walked Mauer. Sano followed with a line drive to center field to score Dozier.
''There's been a couple outings early on where his ERA is going to be elevated,'' Cleveland manager Terry Francona said of Allen. ''But I mean, today it's an infield hit, it's a ground ball that we can't make a play on. It's a base hit. I think Cody's fine.''
Minnesota is now 6-4 at Target Field and 1-10 on the road.
The Twins rallied after Cleveland's Mike Napoli homered off Kevin Jepsen (2-3) in the top of the ninth to tie the game 5-all. It was Jepsen's third blown save in five chances.
''Kevin has been throwing the ball good,'' Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. ''I know it doesn't look particularly good with results, he's not catching many breaks. It worked out with the short bullpen, it wasn't really an issue.''
Minnesota starter Ricky Nolasco allowed four runs on five hits and struck out nine over 7 1/3 innings. He has pitched at least seven innings in three of his four starts this season.
Jason Kipnis hit his second home run of the season for the Indians to open the scoring in the first. Juan Uribe led off the third against Nolasco with his first homer for Cleveland after the 37-year-old signed a one-year contract with the Indians in the offseason.
But Cleveland starter Cody Anderson allowed five runs for the third straight start. He departed after Eddie Rosario's two-out, tiebreaking homer in the sixth while giving up 10 hits.
''I felt good the whole night,'' Anderson said. ''It's just every so often I was leaving a ball up. Something's just not coming out right and they're not missing it.''
Cleveland outfielder Michael Brantley returned to the starting lineup for the first time this season after undergoing shoulder surgery in the offseason. Brantley made his season debut on Monday while pinch hitting.
Brantley was in left field and hit cleanup on Tuesday, with designated hitter Carlos Santana staying in the leadoff spot. Manager Terry Francona then split the left-handed hitting Brantley and Kipnis with Francisco Lindor hitting third.
''I kind of like the idea of Carlos leading off, getting on base the way he can,'' Francona said before the game. ''It should create some scoring opportunities for Kip and Lindor and Brant, then you move Nap back one. We'll see. We're going to go to a National League park and we won't have the DH, so we might change it.''
Mauer had an RBI double and a walk and has now reached base safely in all 21 games he's played this season. The streak is the longest in baseball to begin this season.
Last year, St. Louis' Matt Holliday started the season by reaching base in his first 45 games.
Indians: Manager Terry Francona said RHP Tommy Hunter could be nearing a return from abdominal surgery. Hunter, 29, has been on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus where he is 0-1 with a 1.12 ERA in seven games.
Twins: 3B Trevor Plouffe (right intercostal strain) is improving and the team expects he will be activated from the 15-day disabled list when he's eligible on May 3. General manager Terry Ryan said Plouffe is likely to go on a short rehab assignment before he's activated.
The Indians will start RHP Josh Tomlin (2-0, 1.54 ERA) on Wednesday in the finale of the three-game series. Molitor later confirmed rookie Jose Berrios will start for Minnesota. One of the top pitching prospects in baseball, the 21-year-old Berrios will be making his major league debut after going 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 17 innings in Triple-A this season.