May 14, 2012 at 9:58 pm
MINNEAPOLIS (KNSI) - A three run eighth inning had the Minnesota Twins thinking comeback Monday night, but a ninth inning wild pitch from Matt Capps helped the Cleveland Indians break the tie and steal the win 5-4 at Target Field.
Fresh from a three run outburst in the eighth, the Twins went to the ninth tied 4-4. Capps allowed a one out hit to first-baseman Casey Kotchman to start the inning. A wild pitch blocked up the third base line by catcher Drew Butera put the go-ahead run in scoring position. With two outs, Cleveland lead-off hitter Shin-Soo Choo singled the run home to set the final score and hand Capps his second loss of the season.
The Minnesota rally started in the top of the eighth with a Denard Span lead-off walk. At second base two outs later, Span came home when Josh Willingham clutched a double down the left-field line. Ryan Doumit, the very next hitter, launched a 401 foot home run to the second deck in left to tie the game.
Carl Pavano lasted six innings and allowed back-to-back two run innings to the Indians, despite questions about inflammation in his throwing shoulder. Lead-off hits proved fatal for Pavano as Cleveland went single, double, ground out to tie the game in the fourth.
In the fifth, Indians first-baseman Casey Kotchman launched a two run home run to right following a lead double in the fifth. In all Pavano needed 72 pitches to complete six innings, allowing four runs on six hits with three strike-outs and no walks.
Cleveland starter Jeanmar Gomez dueled with Pavano all night and left with a 4-1 lead. Gomez scattered three hits and two walks through his seven innings. The right-hander retired the final seven Twins he faced before turning the game over to the bullpen.
Darin Mastroianni legged Minnesota to their first run of the night and a short lived lead. After singling to lead off the third, the Twins right-fielder beat a double play relay to second. Then, as he tried to take third on a wild pitch, Indians catcher Carlos Santana threw the ball down the left-field line, allowing Mastroianni to score.
Francisco Liriano walked three of the final four batters he faced, but managed a pair of scoreless innings in relief of Pavano. The outing was Liriano's first from the pen this season. After retiring the first five batters he faced, he lost command in the top of the 8th before stranding the bases loaded. Command issues were a large factor in Liriano's struggles as starter early on this season. He has now walked 22 batters in nearly 29 innings.
The loss moves the Twins to 10-25 on the season and runs the record of the first place Indians to 19-16. The Twins now trail the Indians by 9 games in the American League Central.
Monday night is the first of a two game series with Cleveland, the finale coming Tuesday at 12:10 p.m. before the Twins travel on to Detroit. Monday marks just the third game played against an AL Central division foe all year, but is the first of 10 games in the division over their next 13.
Catch the postgame reaction from the Twins on the KNSI Morning Show with Don Lyons starting at 5 a.m. Tuesday.
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