Friday, August 10, 2018 1:00 am
Cleveland 5 Minnesota 4
Brantley's hit ends game after Indians blow 4-0 lead
STEVE HERRICK | Associated Press
CLEVELAND – Michael Brantley knew what was coming after giving the Cleveland Indians their second straight game-ending victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Brantley was mobbed by his teammates as he rounded first base after his ninth-inning single that gave Cleveland a 5-4 win Thursday.
Cleveland's All-Star left fielder did his best to avoid the various items poured over his head.
“It's tough,” Brantley said. “You've got some Gatorade. Some (baby) powder. You name it. It's coming at you.”
The latest celebration took place about 18 hours after Francisco Lindor hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning Wednesday night for a 5-2 victory.
Although Thursday's party was a bit more subdued, the Indians persevered after Minnesota rallied from a 4-0 deficit against reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber.
Brantley grounded a 2-1 pitch off Addison Reed (1-6) past a diving Miguel Sano at first base to score Greg Allen.
“I try to clear my mind,” Brantley said. “It's really too hard to think and hit. Just keep it simple and try to get that run the best you can.”
“It's nice to have him up in that situation,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “You know the at-bat's not going to get ahead of him or be too big.”
The Indians lead Minnesota by 11 games in the AL Central and are 35-16 against division foes this season. Sano's ninth-inning home run off closer Cody Allen tied Wednesday's game, but the Twins lost on Lindor's blast.
“Walk-offs are obviously not satisfying,” Twins manager Paul Molitor. “But this was a little different from last night in that we got behind against a really good pitcher.”
Allen, called up from Triple-A Columbus before the game, started the rally with a single off Reed and stole second with Lindor batting. Lindor's groundout to first moved Allen to third.
Andrew Miller (2-3) struck out a batter in the ninth in his fourth appearance since missing two months because of an inflamed right knee.
Jake Cave's fifth-inning sacrifice fly scored a run for Minnesota. Jorge Polanco hit his first home run of the season – a three-run shot in the sixth – to tie the game.
Polanco missed the first 80 games of the season because of a suspension for violating baseball's drug program.
“I could care less about if I get a win or the bullpen gets a win,” Kluber said. “The bottom line is, we won the game.”