MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Ryan Doumit’s two-run blast sailed into the upper deck in left field, and he was swarmed by his teammates as he hit the dugout to celebrate his game-tying, eighth-inning home run.
Almost as quickly as the slumbering Twins’ offense woke up, the celebration was over and another game was lost.
Shin-Soo Choo hit the go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning to back Jeanmar Gomez’s seven superb innings and lift the Cleveland Indians to a 5-4 victory over Minnesota on Monday night.
“Excitement abounds,” said manager Ron Gardenhire, whose Twins fell to 10-25. “But unfortunately it was short-lived.”
The Twins trailed 4-1 heading into the eighth inning before Josh Willingham had an RBI double off of Vinnie Pestano and Doumit followed with his fifth homer of the year — off of Nick Hagadone — to tie the game.
But Matt Capps (0-2) gave up a single to Casey Kotchman in the ninth and threw a wild pitch that allowed him to advance to second. Choo’s base hit scored pinch-runner Lou Marson from second base.
“It’s tough,” Doumit said. “Any loss is tough. But everybody’s battling. It’s one of those games. We’re trying. No one wants to win more than us. Everybody’s got each other’s back and we just have to keep grinding. It was a great game and we just fell short.”
The Twins had nothing going offensively against Gomez, the 24-year-old right-hander who allowed one unearned run on three hits with three strikeouts and two walks. They managed just three hits and were only able to scrape one run across the board when Darin Mastroianni scored on a throwing error from Indians catcher Carlos Santana in the third inning.
The Twins had only five hits total and Capps allowed a run for the first time in six outings.
“He’s been lights out,” Gardenhire said of Capps. “He’s our closer. Give him the ball in the ninth inning like that, that’s who goes out there. Always has been, always will be. Just didn’t get it done.”
Santana and Travis Hafner had RBIs in the fourth before Kotchman smashed his third homer of the year well into the seats in right field in the fifth for a 4-1 lead.
Twins starter Carl Pavano gave up four runs on six hits in six innings while pitching through some soreness in his shoulder.
The 36-year-old recently had an MRI on his right shoulder that revealed some inflammation, but no serious damage. He believes the inflammation is what is causing his drop in velocity. Pavano said he felt better on Monday night than he has recently, but the shoulder is still bothering him.
“It’s not always pleasant,” Pavano said. “As a pitcher, your arm doesn’t always feel 100 percent. But with what I’m dealing with, there’s days that it bothers me more than others. I’ve been able to get through it and, on my fifth day, go out there and compete. That’s the important thing.”
He was relieved in the seventh by Francisco Liriano, the lefty’s first appearance out of the bullpen since being demoted from the starting rotation last week. Liriano went 0-5 with a 9.45 ERA in his first six starts. Liriano pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
“Sure we’re playing better baseball, but winning has to be a part of it,” Gardenhire said. “We’ve put ourselves in a big enough hole that you can’t afford to continue to lose and say you’re playing better baseball. This was a hard loss. We have to win.”
NOTES: Indians 3B Jack Hannahan did not play because of a sore back. … Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said INF Alexi Casilla is the team’s utility player after the shuffle that brought Dozier up from Triple-A and moved Jamey Carroll to 2B. Gardenhire planned to play Casilla on Tuesday. … It was Liriano’s first relief appearance since Sept. 24 when he gave up five earned runs in 1-3 of an inning and took the loss against the Indians. … RHP Jason Marquis (2-2, 6.26 ERA) will pitch for the Twins on Tuesday against Cleveland RHP Derek Lowe (5-1, 2.47). The 38-year-old Lowe is 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA in 25 2-3 innings over his last four starts.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)