Cleveland's All-Star shortstop delivered a walk-off three-run homer to right Wednesday against Minnesota reliever Trevor Hildenberger in the ninth as the Indians won 5-2 at Progressive Field.
Jason Kipnis singled with one out and advanced to third on Brandon Guyer's two-out base hit before Lindor roped Hildenberger's first pitch into the seats. It was Cleveland's first walk-off win since Greg Allen homered in the 14th inning May 27 against Houston, and the team's third walk-off victory of the season.
For Lindor, it marked his third career walk-off RBI, and his second walk-off home run.
Reliever Cody Allen (4-4, 4.37) served up a leadoff home run to Miguel Sano in the ninth that tied the score at 2. It was Sano's first home run since May 31 when he went yard against Indians reliever Zach McAllister. Allen's blown save was his third of the year, making him 21-for-24 in save opportunities.
Mike Clevinger pitched seven strong innings and struck out five Twins while allowing one walk, but has not won a game since July 1, a stretch of six starts. He has worked at least six innings in each of his last six starts at Progressive Field.
Guyer got a surprise start in center, but it was Minnesota's Jake Cave who looked like he was playing his first game at the position. Cave broke in on a leadoff line drive by Lindor that sailed over the rookie's head for a double.
Michael Brantley followed with a liner that Cave dropped for an error, and Lindor later scored an unearned run on Edwin Encarnacion's sacrifice fly. Cave's throw sailed to the first-base side of home plate.
Brantley added an RBI groundout in the fifth against Twins starter Jake Odorizzi (4-7, 4.50) after Yan Gomes led off with a single, moved to second on a bunt base hit by Guyer and advanced to third on a fielder's choice by Lindor.
The RBI gave Brantley 60 on the season and gave the Indians five players with at least that many (joining Jose Ramirez, Encarnacion, Lindor and Yonder Alonso). No other team in the majors has more than three.
Clevinger worked out of a jam in the third after Mitch Garver and Cave opened the frame with back-to-back singles. The righty struck out Joe Mauer, and Gomes erased Garver at second with a pickoff throw to Lindor. Carver was originally ruled safe by umpire Marvin Hudson, but Terry Francona's challenge was confirmed. The play saved Cleveland a run because Eddie Rosario singled to center on the next pitch, but Clevinger retired Jorge Polanco on a popout to shortstop.
After allowing a run in the fourth on doubles by Sano and Logan Forsythe, Clevinger settled in, retiring 11 straight. He gave way to Brad Hand in the eighth before Allen came on in the ninth.
With two out in the eighth and a runner at first, Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco tried to sneak a bunt down the third-base line. The ball hugged the foul line for a good 50 feet before Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez pulled his hand back and let the ball go by. The ball scooted foul mere inches outside the base. Seven pitches later, Hand struck Polanco out on a high fastball.
Lindor's torrid first-inning pace continued with Wednesday's leadoff double and run scored. He maintained his MLB lead in runs scored with 98 and also leads in first-inning runs with 28. His 26 leadoff hits are second in MLB behind Seattle's Dee Gordon (34).
What it means
Cleveland raised its record to 7-8 against the Twins this season, including 3-3 at Progressive Field. The Indians lead MLB with 337 runs scored at home.
Odorizzi threw 101 pitches, 59 (58 percent) for strikes. Clevinger threw 95 pitches, 63 (66 percent) for strikes.
Thanks for coming
The Twins and Indians drew 25,476 on Wednesday night. First pitch was at 7:11 p.m. with a temperature of 79 degrees.
Right-hander Corey Kluber (14-6, 2.63) will face Twins right-hander Jose Berrios (11-8, 3.51) on Thursday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. SportsTime Ohio and WLKR 95.3 will carry the game.