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Indians trim Twins 7-5 to salvage AL Central series finale

"We're going to keep fighting," said starter Shane Bieber.
Credit: AP
Minnesotta Twins' LaMonte Wade Jr. is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two-run home run in the sixth inning in a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND — After getting rained out, beaten twice and nearly counted out, the Indians saved something from their biggest weekend this season.

They're not finished yet.

"We're going to keep fighting," said starter Shane Bieber.

The Indians kept their faint hopes of winning the AL Central alive on Sunday with a 7-5 win over the big-swinging Minnesota Twins, who hit four more homers and tied a major league record with four players getting at least 30.

Roberto Perez's three-run homer in the sixth off Kyle Gibson put the Indians ahead and they bounced back after dropping a doubleheader on Saturday that seemed to doom their postseason chances.

But the Indians didn't fold and stopped the Twins from extending their lead.

"We responded very well," said Perez, who has 23 homers and is batting .406 in his last 10 games. "The first two games were tough losses. It was a must-win. We came out with a lot of energy. I thought guys had better at-bats and I'm glad we got the win."

Perez's 417-foot shot to center field capped a four-run rally in the sixth inning that began with Jason Kipnis hitting a double off Fernando Romero (0-1) after re-injuring his right wrist.

Nick Wittgren (5-1) relieved Bieber and held the Twins to one run in 1 1/3 innings before manager Terry Francona, who didn't have closer Brad Hand available this weekend, then got creative to close out the Twins.

James Hoyt worked the eighth and got two outs in the ninth before Oliver Perez popped up red-hot Eddie Rosario for his first save this season — and first since 2017 with Washington.

"My stomach was in my throat," Francona said. "But I'll tell ya what, Hoyt, that's a big ask. I mean coming on the heels of pitching yesterday and just not being in that role here. He did a good job."

With the win, the Indians are back within 4½ games of the Twins while they chase Oakland and Tampa Bay in the wild card race.

Rosario homered twice and Miguel Sanó and rookie LaMonte Wade Jr. connected as the Twins became the 13th team — and first since the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies — to have four players reach 30 homers in the same season.

Sanó, who homered in the third off starter Shane Bieber, has 29 and two weeks left to reach the milestone, which would give Minnesota the record in a year when home run marks are falling all around baseball.

Rosario's 419-foot homer in the sixth tied it 2-2 and gave him 30 homers, joining Nelson Cruz (37), Max Kepler (36) and Mitch Garver (30) at the plateau.

"It is really awesome," Rosario said. "But I'm going for more and more and to get to five guys — if that's the record for five guys hitting 30 homers, that's awesome."

Second baseman Jonathan Schoop had two of four errors by the Twins, who lost for just the third time in their last 17 road games.

They came to Cleveland looking to put away the Indians and nearly did with another power-packed performance, only to be undone by defensive lapses.

"It was too much for us to overcome," said manager Rocco Baldelli, who rested several regulars and pushed All-Star José Berríos' scheduled start back one day. "That being said, we pitched well enough to win. We swung the bats well enough to win. We just didn't get the job done in the field."