Michael Brantley delivered an RBI single that barely squeezed under the glove of Twins first baseman Miguel Sano as Greg Allen crossed the plate to give the Tribe a 5-4 win at Progressive Field Thursday afternoon. It was the Indians' second walk-off victory in the last 24 hours, the first time they've posted back-to-back walk-offs since Aug. 18-19, 2016.
Allen led off the inning off loser Addison Reed (1-6) with a single, stole second and went to third on a Francisco Lindor groundout. Minnesota suffered its 12th walk-off loss of the season, the most in the majors.
For Brantley, the game-winner marked his first since opening day last year against the Chicago White Sox. The Indians have four walk-off victories in 2018. Andrew Miller (2-3, 3.44) got the win with a hitless inning of relief in the ninth.
Staked to a 4-0 lead, Tribe starting pitcher Corey Kluber looked like he was in complete command, pitching a shutout until the fifth inning when he allowed a leadoff double by Max Kepler, who scored two batters later when Jake Cave hit a sacrifice fly.
Minnesota tied the score at 4-4 in the sixth on Jorge Polanco's first homer of the season, a three-run shot into the right field seats that came two pitches after right fielder Melky Cabrera's drop turned a fly ball off the bat of Eddie Rosario into a 370-foot single.
It was the 21st home run Kluber has allowed, his first since July 23 against Pittsburgh. The Indians ace pitched seven innings but took a no-decision, striking out seven and not allowing a walk.
Cleveland broke through in the second against Twins starter Jose Berrios when Yonder Alonso smashed his 20th home run, a solo shot to right. It's the second time in Alonso's nine-year career he's reached the 20-homer plateau.
Later in the inning, Francisco Lindor lined a 1-1 fastball from Berrios to right that scored Melky Cabrera and Jason Kipnis. Lindor's RBI double in the fourth plated Kipnis and pushed Cleveland's advantage to 4-0.
Lindor has collected at least two hits in five straight games, and leads the majors with 47 multi-hit outings. The double upped his MLB-leading extra-base hit total to 68, three ahead of teammate Jose Ramirez.
Yer outta here
Twins hitting coach James Rowson earned his first career ejection in the seventh inning when home plate umpire Adrian Johnson gave him the heave-ho. Minnesota's Ehrie Adrianza was called out on a 91 mph sinker by Kluber, and Rowson argued the call.
What it means
Cleveland evened its season record against the Twins at 8-8, including 4-3 at Progressive Field. The Tribe's lead in the A.L. Central Division is at 11 games with 48 remaining.
Berrios threw 97 pitches, 54 (56 percent) for strikes. Kluber threw 117 pitches, 77 (66 percent) for strikes.
Thanks for coming
The Twins and Indians drew 25,942 on Thursday afternoon. First pitch was at 1:10 p.m. with a temperature of 77 degrees.
The Indians begin a six-game trip to Chicago and Cincinnati when they take on the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Right-hander Shane Bieber (6-2, 4.58 ERA) will face Chicago lefty Carlos Rodon (3-3, 2.94) on Friday at 8:10 p.m. SportsTime Ohio and WLKR will carry the game.
It will mark Bieber's first career appearance against the White Sox, the only AL Central team that he has not faced. Bieber is 3-0 with a 3.58 ERA against the rest of the division.