MINNEAPOLIS -- In a span of two hours before Monday's game, Minnesota's clubhouse saw two key players traded away as the Twins continue to operate as sellers on the eve of the non-waiver Trade Deadline. But with first-place Cleveland in town for a crucial three-game set, the Twins managed to
MINNEAPOLIS -- In a span of two hours before Monday's game, Minnesota's clubhouse saw two key players traded away as the Twins continue to operate as sellers on the eve of the non-waiver Trade Deadline. But with first-place Cleveland in town for a crucial three-game set, the Twins managed to end Monday night on a positive note.
Mitch Garver crushed a double in the bottom of the ninth to give the Twins a 5-4 win over the Indians at Target Field and end Minnesota's three-game losing streak.
Miguel Sano drew a leadoff walk and was replaced by Ehire Adrianza before Garver drilled a double to the left-center-field gap to finish the game.
"That was a big win for us as a group, as a group of brothers," Garver said. "We lost some key guys to our team this year, and to come back and kind of put that one away and finish that game is pretty exciting for us."
It was another timely hit in what has been a standout month for the 27-year-old Twins catcher; Garver entered Monday hitting .310 with 13 RBIs over his past 30 games.
"Happy for Mitch," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "He stepped up when he had a chance to win the game and puts one in the gap. It's a really good way to start the series, especially with all the tumultuous things that have been going on the last three, four days."
In his second outing for the Twins since returning from the disabled list last week, Ervin Santana didn't miss many bats and was stung by the longball as he allowed four earned runs over 5 1/3 innings. Three of the six hits he yielded were solo homers, and he generated just three swinging strikes on 88 pitches.
Cleveland All-Star Jose Ramirez entered Monday in the midst of an 0-for-16 skid, but he snapped out of it early against Santana when he launched a solo homer off the Twins right-hander with two outs in the first. Then, in the fourth inning, Ramirez smashed another solo shot, his 32nd of the season.
"They're always an aggressive team," Santana said. "They're one of the hottest teams in baseball right now and we had a good battle, and it was good to get the win."
In between Ramirez's two homers, the Minnesota offense went to work and generated two runs of its own. James Dozier reached on an error to lead off the second and then went first-to-third on a Max Kepler single. Robbie Grossman then lifted a sacrifice fly to plate Dozier, and Sano followed with an RBI double to give the Twins a 2-1 lead.
Ramirez evened the score with his second homer in the fourth, but the Twins answered in the bottom half of the inning, when Jorge Polanco cracked a two-RBI single to make it 4-2.
Cleveland tacked on a run over each of the next two innings to draw even and had a chance to take the lead in the seventh. Francisco Lindor drilled a one-out triple off reliever Trevor Hildenberger and forced the Twins to move their infield in. Hildenberger got Michael Brantley to ground out to second and then intentionally walked Ramirez. He worked a full count against Edwin Encarnacion before getting a called strike three with a changeup to end the threat.
In the ninth, Fernando Rodney came on to hold a 4-4 tie and worked the Twins out of another jam. With a pair of runners in scoring position, Rodney struck out Yonder Alonso swinging with a 97.7 mile-per-hour heater to end the inning and set the stage for Garver's big hit.
HE SAID IT
"He's still got it. He takes care of himself and can reach back when he needs to. It's sometimes a little tough to watch, as far as how it unfolds. There's usually one stretch where the command can lose him a little bit. But he seems to like having those moments. He bears down, doesn't always work out, but he made pitches and gave us a chance to score there." -- Molitor, on Rodney
The Twins will continue their three-game set with the Indians at 7:10 p.m. CT Tuesday with hopes of further trimming Cleveland's eight-game lead in the AL Central. Kyle Gibson (5-7, 3.42 ERA) will get the start for Minnesota. Last time out on Thursday, Gibson tossed tossed eight strong innings as he held the Red Sox to a single earned run in Boston. Cleveland will counter with Trevor Bauer (9-6, 2.32).
Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minnesota.