CLEVELAND (AP) — Jim Thome gave Cleveland fans one more memory, and so did Carlos Santana, whose pinch-hit homer leading off the bottom of the ninth gave the Indians a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
Thome went 3 for 4 with three RBIs, including a two-run homer, the 604th of his career, on a night he was honored in pregame ceremonies.
Santana, batting for Lou Marson, drove the first pitch from Matt Capps (4-7) over the wall in right center for his 26th homer, giving Cleveland its 17th home win in its final at-bat.
Chris Perez (4-7) pitched one perfect inning as Cleveland pulled out a dramatic win for Thome, who has said he will wait until the offseason to announce whether or not he wants to return for a 22nd season in 2012.
Fans sat through a steady rain to salute Thome before the game, then gave the 41-year-old designated hitter a rousing ovation his first time up. The cheers increased when he lined a run-scoring double into the left-field corner, a two-out hit that got Cleveland within 2-1.
Matt LaPorta, who had three hits for Cleveland, tied it at 2 with an RBI double in the second.
Chris Parmalee’s two-run single in the first off Indians starter Justin Masterson gave the Twins a 2-0 lead.
Parmalee opened the Twins’ third with his third homer and Minnesota made it 4-2 later in the inning by scoring an unearned run on a throwing error by second baseman Jason Kipnis.
Thome’s towering 425-foot shot to straightaway center tied it at 4 in the bottom half.
LaPorta’s RBI single in the sixth put Cleveland ahead 5-4, but Rene Tosoni’s RBI double off Rafael Perez tied it again in the seventh.
The Twins, headed for their first last-place finish since 2000, have won just two of their last 18 games. They blew a golden chance to break it open in the fifth when Masterson walked two and hit a batter to load the bases. Joe Benson hit a one-hopper to Masterson, who turned it into a home-to-first double play before walking Drew Butera to reload the bases.
Reliever Frank Herrmann got Ben Revere to foul out, ending the threat.
Masterson tied a career-high with six walks and hit two Twins in only 4 2-3 innings. The right-hander gave up three earned runs and five hits.
Twins starter Carl Pavano gave up five runs and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Notes: The start of the game, already set back 15 minutes to 7:20 for the pregame salute to Thome, was delayed another 27 minutes by rain. … Benson made a nice leaping catch at wall to rob Kipnis of extra bases. … Twins RF Michael Cuddyer left in the seventh inning with tightness in his right groin. … It was Cleveland’s 34th comeback win of the season. … Minnesota, which has six games remaining, is four losses from its first 100-loss season since 1982.
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