Grand slam, baserunning blunder doom Twins in loss to Indians

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — What the Cleveland Indians saw Sunday is what they’re likely to see the rest of the season: A Twins team that just won’t go away, even when they seem down and almost out. The Twins, from the first-base dugout, saw the same.

Buckle up, Twins fans. There are more than 40 games left — including six more between the American League Central’s two top teams — and if this weekend was any indication, the division race figures to be a fight to the finish.

The Indians pulled away in the 10th inning with a Carlos Santana grand slam off trusted reliever Taylor Rogers for a 7-3 win, but not before the Twins battled back in the bottom of the ninth, refusing to go easily. With the Indians winning three of four games, the teams are again tied atop the division.

The Twins (71-47) faced an unenviable task down two runs heading into the ninth facing all-star closer Brad Hand, but they mounted a rally, starting with an Eddie Rosario double. Luis Arraez drove him in for the second time and after a 10-pitch at-bat, C.J. Cron came through with a single.

That brought Marwin Gonzalez to the plate. After fouling off four pitches, he smacked a double to left, scoring Arraez. Instead of settling for runners on second and third with one out, third-base coach Tony Diaz aggressively waved home Ehire Adrianza, who had pinch run for Cron. Adrianza was thrown out easily for the second out of the inning.

That play loomed large after Jonathan Schoop couldn’t bring home Gonzalez and Rogers, pitching after throwing two innings the night before, ran into trouble in the 10th. Rogers gave up a single, a walk and a well-executed bunt before Santana’s home run quieted the announced sellout crowd of 37,849 fans at Target Field.

Before the ninth, the Twins had been trailing all day as Jose Berrios surrendered two runs in the first inning — one on a Greg Allen solo shot — and one more in the third. But Berrios settled in, at one point sending down 11 straight Indians batters.

He exited after giving up a pair of hits to begin the seventh inning, after which Tyler Duffey and Ryne Harper both came on to leave the bases loaded.

But while the lead was always within reach during the earlier innings, the Twins couldn’t mount much of a rally off Cleveland starter Aaron Civale. Civale gave up one run on an Arraez sacrifice fly but otherwise allowed just four hits in six innings.