MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Carlos Santana hit a grand slam in the 10th inning, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Minnesota Twins 7-3 on Sunday to win the four-game series and forge another tie for the AL Central lead.
The Twins tied the game with four hits in a two-run ninth against Brad Hand (5-3), using a single by Luis Arraez and a double by Marwin Gonzalez to extend the game.
As pinch-runner Ehire Adrianza tried to score the winning run from first base, left fielder Tyler Naquin grabbed the ball off the bounce from the wall and zipped a throw to shortstop Francisco Lindor, whose relay home was in perfect position for catcher Kevin Plawecki to tag Adrianza with ease.
That was Naquin’s 10th outfield assist, moving into a tie for third in the majors.
Twins closer Taylor Rogers (2-3) allowed a single, a walk and another single on a bunt by Greg Allen to load the bases with none out for Santana, who quickly erased the late-inning drama with one big swing. The All-Star first baseman has reached base at least once in 53 of his last 57 games since June 4, the exact date when the Indians began their surge. They’re 42-17 during that span, the best record in the majors.
Aaron Civale contributed another solid performance in his third major league start, tossing six smooth innings after Allen homered and Yasiel Puig hit an RBI double in the first inning to get the Indians going against All-Star Jose Berrios. Santana added an RBI single in the third for a 3-1 lead, before Berrios settled in to retire 11 straight batters.
The Indians leaned on their trusty bullpen, with a baseball-best 3.19 ERA entering the game, to create a tie in the division race for the second time in three days. The Twins had sole possession of first place from April 27 until Friday, before bypassing the Indians again Saturday with a 4-1 victory. Their lead was as big as 11 1/2 games on June 3 and still 7 1/2 games on July 13.
Nick Goody record three straight outs in the seventh after the first two batters reached base. Oliver Perez pitched a perfect eighth. After Hand hit the big bump in the ninth, Hunter Wood pitched a perfect 10th inning to end the game.
The Twins and Indians play seven more times, all in September.
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
Berrios was aiming to bounce back from the worst start of his four-year career, having surrendered nine runs in 5 2/3 innings Tuesday as the Twins fell behind Atlanta 11-0 in a 12-7 loss. He was charged with three runs and six hits in six innings against the Indians.
Civale permitted one run and four hits. Civale, the third-round pick in 2016 who came from the same draft class as fellow rotation members Shane Bieber (fourth round) and Zach Plesac (12th round), has allowed only nine hits, four walks and two runs with 18 strikeouts in 18 innings in the majors.
Allen batted second and played center to give Oscar Mercado a break, just the second time this season he has taken one of the top five places in the lineup. In two games in the second spot, Allen is 6 for 11 with two homers, four runs, and three RBIs.
The Twins have Monday off, one of just five left over the final seven weeks of the season.
Indians: Plesac (6-3, 3.13 ERA) will start Monday at home against Boston to begin a three-game series, having thrown six shutout innings in his last appearance. LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (13-5, 4.17 ERA) pitches for the Red Sox.
Twins: LHP Martin Perez (8-5, 4.80 ERA) will take the mound to start a two-game interleague series Tuesday in Milwaukee, following an 11-hit, seven-run, six-inning performance in his last turn that put his spot in the rotation in question. RHP Chase Anderson (5-2, 3.70 ERA) pitches for the Brewers.
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