Dozier's blast lifts Twins over Indians; magic number is 1
CLEVELAND—Brian Dozier's three-run homer in the eighth inning lifted the Twins to an 8-6 victory over the Cleveland Indians in a wild slugfest Tuesday night at Progressive Field, moving Minnesota to the brink of a playoff berth.
With their fifth win in a row, the Twins lowered their magic number for clinching the American League's second wild-card spot to one.
Minnesota pounded out 17 hits and used a club-record 10 pitchers in the game that saw starter Bartolo Colon leave after one inning because of illness.
Taylor Rogers (7-3), the eighth Minnesota pitcher, got the last two outs of the seventh inning for the win. Matt Belisle pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
Bryan Shaw (4-6), who gave up the homer to Dozier, took the loss.
Trailing 6-4, the Twins rallied in the eighth inning against Shaw.
With one out, Jason Castro and Robbie Grossman singled. Dozier then belted an 0-1 pitch from Shaw over the right field wall for his 33rd home run, giving the Twins a 7-6 lead.
Minnesota added an insurance run on an RBI single by Byron Buxton in the ninth.
Edwin Encarnacion had three hits, including a home run, and drove in four runs for the Indians.
With the score tied 4-4, Cleveland's Jason Kipnis led off the bottom of the sixth with a single against Gabriel Moya. Alan Busenitz relieved Moya and walked Roberto Perez.
Giovanny Urshela flied out to deep right field, allowing Kipnis to advance to third. Francisco Lindor's sacrifice fly drove in Kipnis, giving Cleveland a 5-4 lead.
Encarnacion's home run, an opposite field shot over the right field wall against Ryan Pressly in the seventh, extended the lead to 6-4.
Each team scored two runs in the first inning.
Dozier led off the game by doubling off the left field wall on an 0-2 pitch from Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin. Dozier went to third on a groundout by Joe Mauer, and scored on a groundout by Jorge Polanco.
Eddie Rosario then belted his 27th home run over the right field wall to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.
Lindor led off the bottom of the first with a single against Colon. Colon struck out Austin Jackson, but Jose Ramirez doubled, sending Lindor to third. Encarnacion followed with a single, scoring both runners and tying it 2-2.
Minnesota took a 4-2 lead in the third. Dozier singled and went to third on a single by Mauer. Mauer advanced to second when Polanco grounded out to Tomlin.
Rosario then bounced a double off the left field wall, scoring Dozier and Mauer and giving the Twins a two-run lead.
When Colon exited after one inning, the parade of Minnesota relievers began. Jackson led off the bottom of the third with a single against Tyler Duffey.
Ramirez walked, and a single by Encarnacion scored Jackson to cut the Twins' lead to 4-3.
A wild pitch by Duffey allowed Ramirez to move to third and Encarnacion to second. Jay Bruce then lined a single to right, scoring Ramirez with the tying run. Encarnacion also tried to score on the hit, but the throw home from right fielder Max Kepler arrived in plenty of time to retire Encarnacion, keeping the score 4-4.
Both starting pitchers were gone early. In his one inning, Colon gave up two runs and three hits with one strikeout and no walks. Tomlin pitched 3 2/3 innings and was tagged for four runs and eight hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
NOTES: Indians OF Lonnie Chisenhall is expected to be available to play Wednesday night. Chisenhall hasn't appeared in a game since Sept. 14 because of a strained right calf, the second time this season he has been sidelined by that injury. ... DH Edwin Encarnacion's two-run single in the first inning gave him 101 RBIs for the season. He becomes the fifth player in Indians history with 100 RBIs and 100 walks in the same season. The last to do it was Travis Hafner in 2007. ... Twins OF Byron Buxton's stolen base in the sixth inning was his 23rd consecutive successful steal, a franchise record. ... Jorge Polanco is third on the Twins' career list for RBIs as a shortstop. Polanco has 72, trailing only Roy Smalley, who had 94 in 1979 and 77 in 1978. ... LHP Adalberto Mejia, who will start for the Twins on Wednesday night, has a 1.86 ERA in two career starts vs. Cleveland.