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Fien gives up winning run in the ninth with two outs

Nolasco strikes out nine in six innings but gets a no-decision
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CLEVELAND -- Outside of Cleveland, Casey Fien has been unstoppable.

Pitching at Progressive Field is a different story for the righty.

View Full Game Coverage

CLEVELAND -- Outside of Cleveland, Casey Fien has been unstoppable.

Pitching at Progressive Field is a different story for the righty.

View Full Game Coverage

Fien hadn't given up a run since April 4, when the Indians tagged him for three runs, and Wednesday night, Cleveland got a 4-3 walk-off win over Fien and the Twins.

Minnesota's ninth inning unraveled painfully.

Asdrubal Cabrera led off the ninth with a double to deep left that was just out of Eduardo Escobar's reach.

The versatile Escobar, making his second appearance in left field for the Twins and his first start there, had a chance to get a glove on Cabrera's hit, but he pulled up just short, missing the catch by a half a step.

"He just didn't get to it, I'm sure he shied away from the wall," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's not been out there a lot, it was going toward the wall over his head. He got to the warning track and felt he was a little too close, probably."

Escobar agreed with his skipper's assessment.

"I felt like I was pretty close [to the wall], that's why I jumped," Escobar said through a translator.

The Indians hit three other balls to Escobar, and he caught all of them.

"One ball I needed to catch, I wasn't able to," Escobar said.

Fien (3-1) went right back to work, but when Lonnie Chisenhall laid down a sacrifice bunt, the righty found himself with the winning run 90 feet from home and one out.

With two right-handed hitters in Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles coming to the plate, Gardenhire knew Fien was in his element.

Fien, who didn't speak to the media after the game, seemed to retake control, getting Gomes to ground out to shortstop on the first pitch.

That brought Aviles to the plate.

Aviles sent a 1-1 fastball into shallow center, sending Minnesota to its second straight loss.

The result was disappointing, but Gardenhire will take the matchup every time.

"Casey's pretty good," Gardenhire said. "Righties don't hit much off him. He's been really tough in all situations. He made a nice pitch on Gomes, and I gave him a chance to get Aviles out.

"Casey's gotten a lot of righties out, and done pretty well, so it's his ballgame there. He just got a pitch up, made a bad pitch."

Aviles had hits in two of his previous bats, but initially, the moment felt too big for him.

"My first swing, I was trying to hit one about 800 feet, which was kind of dumb," Aviles said. "That's just not something I can do. In that situation, after I took a swing like that, I told myself, 'Hey, let's just calm down. All you need is a base hit. A bloop will work.'

"So I just pretty much said 'Calm down, go mentally into a two-strike approach, let's stay up the middle, see what happens.' Fortunately enough, I got a pitch I could hit up the middle."

Indians closer John Axford (1-3) threw a scoreless inning for the win.

Twins starter Ricky Nolasco didn't figure into the decision.

Nolasco went six innings, allowing three runs on one walk and six hits. Nolasco struck out a season-high nine batters.

"I felt pretty good, had some good breaking stuff going," Nolasco said.

Brian Dozier put the Twins up in the second with an RBI single, but an inning later, Nolasco loaded the bases with two outs and gave up a two-run double to Michael Brantley.

For the most part, Minnesota's offense arrived too late to do anything more than get Nolasco off the hook.

Minnesota stranded runners in scoring position in the third and fourth, and that's how it looked like things would stay until Josmil Pinto got to Indians starter Danny Salazar.

Pinto singled to right field, and Escobar doubled to left-center, chasing Salazar. Gardenhire sent Danny Santana to the plate to pinch-hit for Pedro Florimon, and the young shortstop hit a laser right by Bryan Shaw's head into center field, scoring Pinto.

Dozier knotted the game with a sacrifice fly, and the Twins couldn't do anything more in the seventh.

The Twins threatened again in the ninth, after Santana doubled off Axford and Dozier drew a walk.

Axford, who had allowed runs in his previous two appearances, including the game-winning home run Monday to Escobar, got Sam Fuld to fly out to Carlos Santana, turning away the Twins.

Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to

Minnesota Twins, Casey Fien, Ricky Nolasco, Josmil Pinto