CLEVELAND -- Marlon Byrd delivered a two-run double in the eighth inning on Friday night, helping the Indians overcome a powerful display by the Twins to pull off a 7-6 comeback win at Progressive Field.
Byrd's hit to deep center scored Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez and ignited a three-run outburst off Twins reliever Trevor May, sending Minnesota to its eighth consecutive loss. The late push canceled out the efforts of the Twins lineup, which clubbed a season-high four home runs against Cleveland.
"That was one of those games where you're not real comfortable until you see the very, very last out," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Both teams were going back and forth. … We talk about it all the time: Just keep playing, because you don't know what's enough. And we did just enough."
Byung Ho Park belted his eighth and ninth home runs of the season off Indians righty Josh Tomlin, who also yielded a tape-measure shot to Twins slugger Miguel Sano. In the eighth inning, Eduardo Nunez delivered a solo shot off Cleveland setup man Bryan Shaw to break a 4-4 deadlock to give the Twins a short-lived 5-4 lead.
Tomlin walked away with a no-decision after being charged with four runs (three earned) on four hits in 6 1/3 innings. After allowing Park's second homer of the night in the third inning, though, Tomlin settled down, locked in and held Minnesota to an 0-for-12 showing until his exit in the seventh.
"They just came up with timely hitting and flat-out beat us," Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said. "We need something to get us going in the right direction. We have to find something, whether it's just that one win. The beautiful thing is we have a game tomorrow, and it's only 30-something games into the season, but it's testing everybody in here from our character to the way we play the game. We have to dig deep and keep grinding."
• Twins hoping to 'dig deep,' snap early skid
Yan Gomes (two-run shot in the second) and Jason Kipnis (solo blast in the third) got in on the home run derby, helping Cleveland's offense keep pace against Twins righty Ricky Nolasco. Minnesota's starter was also saddled with a no-decision for his six-inning effort, which included giving up a game-tying sacrifice fly to Byrd in the sixth.
"Two days ago, we had to walk off after a long-inning game," said Byrd, referring to Cleveland's 16-inning loss in Houston on Wednesday. "That's tough. That's a downer. We were able to come back and win the first game [against the Twins]. We battled with those guys. They play us tough. They played us tough in Minnesota. Same here. So to come out on top was good."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Byung Ho Parked: Park had his first career multi-homer game, as he crushed a solo blast in the first and a two-run shot in the third. The first homer went a projected 458 with an exit velocity of 112.1 mph, while the second went a projected 411 feet, per Statcast™. The two-run blast was his first non-solo homer of the year.
"I wasn't looking for certain pitches, I was just trying to get my timing," Park said through translator J.D. Kim. "When I came back and looked at the video, the pitches were up in the zone."
Catching fire: Before Friday's game, Francona said he felt Gomes would break out of his offensive funk soon. The catcher backed up his manager's talk in the second inning with a towering two-run homer that pulled the game into a 2-2 tie. That blast ended an 0-for-20 drought at the plate for Gomes.
"Good for him. He's been working so hard," Francona said. "It's just nice to see him have something to show for it. It obviously helps us, but good for him. He's going to hit. He knows it, we know it. It's still good for him."
Sano doubter: Sano absolutely crushed a solo homer in the first inning, as it went a projected 464 feet, which Statcast™ had as the fourth-longest homer hit this season. The only homers hit farther were by Miami's Giancarlo Stanton (474 feet), Boston's Hanley Ramirez (468 feet) and Pittsburgh's Jordy Mercer (466 feet).
"Sano had a really nice at-bat, and he finished it with the homer," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It was a no-doubter. I think all the homers tonight were no cheapies." More >
Big Byrd: Trailing by one run in the eighth, Lindor led off with a slapped single down the left-field line. After Lindor swiped second base, May issued a one-out walk to Ramirez. That set the stage for Byrd, who crushed a 1-2 pitch 400 feet to straightaway center, where the ball dropped just beyond the reach of outfielder Danny Santana. Juan Uribe later added an RBI single. The three-run cushion allowed closer Cody Allen to pick up his ninth save, even though he gave up one run in the ninth.
"In that situation, I'm looking for him to hopefully make a mistake," Byrd said. "His breaking ball, he usually buries. He throws it, it looks like a strike and ends up being a ball. I think maybe that's the only one he wanted back -- the breaking ball that he left up." More >
"I do think [the ballpark] was playing small. But, saying that, Sano's ball, I'll pick it up on the way home. That ball, it didn't matter. That ball was killed." -- Francona, on Sano's 464-foot home run
Twins: Right-hander Ervin Santana (0-2, 3.86 ERA) is set to start for the Twins on Saturday at 3:10 p.m. CT. Santana struggled last time out, but it was his first start since being placed on the 15-day disabled list with back spasms. Santana went 3 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks in a loss to the White Sox on Saturday.
Indians: Right-hander Corey Kluber (2-4, 4.14 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for the Tribe on Saturday in the second tilt of this three-game division series. On Monday, Kluber lasted only 2 2/3 innings after giving up five runs to the Astros. He spun a shutout in his previous outing and had a 1.13 ERA in his three starts leading up to the setback in Houston.
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