The Twins' magic number to clinch the AL Central remains 14.

By Associated Press
September 07, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS — Roberto Perez hit a two-out RBI single for Cleveland against Minnesota rookie Brusdar Graterol to ignite a four-run 11th inning, as the Indians broke open a critical game against the American League Central leader and beat the Twins 6-2 on Friday night to trim the division lead to 5 1/2 games.

Francisco Lindor drove in another run with an infield single off Graterol, the top pitching prospect for the Twins who was called up last week. Then Oscar Mercado, who tied the game in the eighth by scoring on a one-out sacrifice fly by Yasiel Puig after hitting a leadoff triple off Sergio Romo, tacked on a two-run single against Trevor Hildenberger, the seventh reliever for the Twins after a stellar start by Michael Pineda.

Tyler Clippard (1-0) struck out three of four batters he faced for the victory, and Nick Goody fanned two of three in a perfect 11th to finish it.

The Twins had their ''magic number'' for clinching the Central stay at 14, meaning any combination of their wins and losses by the Indians reaching that total. The Twins have 21 games remaining, and the Indians have 20 games left. They face each other five more times, including a three-game series in Cleveland next weekend.

After the Indians won three out of four games here in mid-August and took a half-game lead the following day, the Twins have gone 16-7 to retake control of the race. That included an 8-2 road trip they finished on Thursday in Boston, when Eddie Rosario ended a 2-1 win with a one-hop throw to the plate to beat Red Sox runner Rafael Devers after playing a ninth-inning double off the Green Monster in left field.

For all the bad-luck health problems the Indians have been hit with this season and despite losing five of their last seven games, they still entered this weekend with an opportunity to quickly trim the division deficit. They entered the evening one game - and two losses - behind Oakland for the second wild card spot, too. Manager Terry Francona briefly addressed the team after an ugly loss to Chicago on Thursday.

''I just wanted to say, `Hey, don't leave anything on the field,''' he said.

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