CLEVELAND -- Despite a dominant start by Indians ace Corey Kluber, James Dozier's go-ahead solo home run in the eighth inning off Cody Allen proved to be the difference in the Twins' 4-2 victory over the Indians on Saturday at Progressive Field.Dozier's shot -- his 13th of the season --
CLEVELAND -- Despite a dominant start by Indians ace Corey Kluber, James Dozier's go-ahead solo home run in the eighth inning off Cody Allen proved to be the difference in the Twins' 4-2 victory over the Indians on Saturday at Progressive Field.
Dozier's shot -- his 13th of the season -- came on Allen's sixth pitch after he replaced Kluber, who held the Twins to three hits and struck out a season-high 13 batters in seven innings. The win clinches the series for the Twins, who pulled within a half-game of the Tribe in the American League Central.
"I missed a really good pitch to hit [the pitch before]," Dozier said. "I knew he was coming with a heater. There was no way he was going to try to give a leadoff walk and try to throw a curveball. He could've gone for the punch out, but I think it was too risky. I just tried to get the head out."
The Twins took advantage of the Indians' miscues in the first inning, leading to a two-run frame highlighted by an RBI double by right fielder Robbie Grossman. Joe Mauer scored the Twins' second run on a throwing error from Indians catcher Yan Gomes. Both runs in the first were unearned. Chris Gimenez added a solo home run in the ninth inning off Zach McAllister.
Kluber took a no-decision, but he has a 1.29 ERA with 52 strikeouts against six walks in 35 innings since coming off the disabled list on June 1. He has not allowed an earned run for 21 consecutive innings.
• Kluber: K's don't mean a thing without a win
"Boy, he was good," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It's a shame, because the way the first inning unfolded, not only did they get the two [runs], but it probably cost him pitching the eighth inning."
Twins starter Kyle Gibson was credited with a no-decision after he went 4 2/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits while walking four. The only run he allowed came on a home run from Jose Ramirez in the fourth inning.
"[Gibson] had to fight," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It was kind of mixed bag with him, but he grinded it out until those two walks in the fifth there, and then we went ahead and tried to keep the game under control, and we were able to hang on from there."
The Indians scored their second run in the seventh on a throwing error from shortstop Jorge Polanco, which tied the game before Dozier led off the next half inning with his homer.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Buxton ends game with four-star grab: With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and Lindor -- who doubled -- on second, Twins closer Brandon Kintzler got Kipnis to hit a sinking fly ball to center field. Byron Buxton came charging in and made a diving catch to not only take a hit away from Kipnis, but to end the ballgame. Per Statcast™, the play had a 49 percent catch probability, making it a four-star catch. Buxton leads the Majors with 14 four-star catches this season.
"These guys are very good low-ball hitters, and that's kind of Kintzler's bread and butter," Molitor said. "He got behind a few guys, and Lindor squared up a double there. Kipnis hit it on the butt, too. It's nice when you have a guy like Buxton who can close in to make a play like that and get you off the field and win a game."
Rogers gets out of trouble: With runners on first and second with one out in the seventh against reliever Matt Belisle, Francisco Lindor beat out a 3-6-1 double-play attempt, and a bad throw to first by Polanco allowed Yan Gomes to score the tying run. Molitor then decided to hand the ball over to reliever Taylor Rogers. The left-hander surrendered an infield single to Jason Kipnis, but was able to get Ramirez to ground out to second to end the inning and escape further damage.
"We had to go out and get Matty after a misplay and [Rogers] was able to settle in and get four big outs for us," Molitor said. "You can't say enough about the jobs [Rogers and Tyler Duffey] have done for us." More >
Dozier goes deep: After the Indians tied the game in the bottom of the seventh, Francona opted to bring in right-hander Allen to face the top of the Twins' order in the eighth. With Dozier at the plate, Allen left a 3-2 fastball up and in, and the Twins second baseman lined it to the Home Run Porch in left to give the Twins the 3-2 lead. Per Statcast™, the go-ahead homer had an exit velocity of 105 mph.
"That's how Terry works over there," Dozier said about Francona bringing in his closer in the eighth inning. "Whenever he gets an opportunity to stop the bleeding or after they tied it back up to gain the momentum back, that's kind of what he's known for, whether it is Allen or [Andrew] Miller, or whoever it is."
"You hope they don't come back to have that big of an impact on the game. You think Kluber is hopefully going to settle in -- do what he did -- and keep them right there, give us our chance and time to go to work on their pitcher. We couldn't come up with a big hit with the guys on base today." -- Kipnis, on the two first-inning errors
"The guys he was facing, or potentially was going to face, were something like 4-for-40 [against him]. Again, we really needed Cody to pitch and Andrew [Miller] has pitched a lot. That was the reason." -- Francona, on using Allen in the eighth inning
"He was ridiculous. I think he struck out, like, 38 guys today. He was really good today. Breaking ball was phenomenal. He was Kluber. He was picking on the outside part of the plate, cutters, sinkers, wipeout breaking balls that are harder than I can throw my fastball." -- Gimenez, on Kluber
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
For the second time in his career, Kluber has collected at least 10 strikeouts in three consecutive outings. Hall of Famer Bob Feller owns the franchise record with four such starts in a row. Feller accomplished the feat from Sept. 23, 1938-April 21, 1939.
Indians outfielder Austin Jackson collected his 1,000th career hit with his one-out single to left in the third inning.
Twins: Ace Ervin Santana (9-4, 2.97 ERA) will toe the rubber in Sunday's series finale against the Tribe at 12:10 p.m. CT at Progressive Field. Although Santana has struggled in June -- going 2-2 with a 7.04 ERA in four starts -- he is coming off his ninth win, in which he allowed six runs on 10 hits in five innings against the White Sox on Tuesday.
Indians: Right-hander Josh Tomlin (4-8, 6.07 ERA) is scheduled to take the hill for the Tribe in the finale of this series with the Twins on Sunday at 1:10 p.m. ET. Tomlin has held Minnesota to four runs over 14 innings (2.57 ERA) in two starts this season. The righty has gone 3-5 with a 6.58 ERA in eight home outings this year.
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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.
William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland and covered the Twins on Friday.