MINNEAPOLIS -- As Eddie Rosario came to the plate with the game tied in the bottom of the ninth inning and the fans throughout Target Field chanting his name, his father, Eddie Rosario Sr., stood at his seat behind home plate and had a feeling something special was about to
MINNEAPOLIS -- As Eddie Rosario came to the plate with the game tied in the bottom of the ninth inning and the fans throughout Target Field chanting his name, his father, Eddie Rosario Sr., stood at his seat behind home plate and had a feeling something special was about to happen.
Rosario, who had his parents, wife and three children in attendance, had already homered twice and was looking to become the first Twins player to ever register a second three-homer game. His father's hunch proved correct, as Rosario crushed a walk-off two-run blast off closer Cody Allen to lift the Twins to a 7-5 win over the Indians in the series finale on Sunday. And incredibly, it was the second time his family, which hails from Puerto Rico, was there to witness a three-homer performance, as they also saw him do it against the Mariners on June 13, 2017.
"That walk-off -- I asked for it," said an emotional Eddie Sr. after the game. "As soon as it left the bat, I just said, 'Game over.' And a lot of things in Spanish. But it was great. I'm very glad with what he's doing right now. My emotions, I'm just excited. And the family is so happy right now. Heck of a game."
Rosario admitted he was trying to hit a homer off Allen and said he knew he was getting a fastball up in the zone on a 2-1 count. Rosario didn't miss it, as the ball landed in the flower beds in right field for his second-career walk-off homer.
"It's special for me and it's more special for my family," Rosario said. "I feel proud, good and happy with my family here."
His three blasts helped the Twins overcome a pair of homers from Edwin Encarnacion, including a go-ahead shot in the sixth. And it helped Minnesota move within 3.5 games of Cleveland with its third straight win.
"It was Rosie's day," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I've seen a lot of good days in the big leagues. But I don't know if I've seen one that was more dramatic than that as far as the first inning all the way through the end."
James Dozier tied the game with his solo blast off starter Mike Clevinger to open the seventh before Rosario connected on his go-ahead homer off reliever Tyler Olson. It was the sixth multi-homer game of the year for Rosario and the fourth time the club hit back-to-back shots this year.
Since May 1, Rosario is hitting .378 with 10 homers and 28 RBIs in 31 games and has emerged as an All-Star candidate for the Twins.
"When you're going good and you're really locked in like he is, you feel like you can't get out," Dozier said. "That's how it is. It's been an impressive couple months so far."
Rosario helped the Twins get out to an early lead against Clevinger with his solo homer in the first. Eduardo Escobar also smacked an RBI double to score Miguel Sano from first. Minnesota scored again in the second on an RBI single from Dozier, and it would've been a bigger inning if it weren't for Bradley Zimmer's incredible diving catch in left-center to rob Ryan LaMarre of extra bases.
The Indians, though, came back with the help of Encarnacion, as Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson was very good otherwise. Gibson gave up a solo homer to Encarnacion in the fifth and exited with a runner on second and two outs in the sixth. After Thomas Pressly issued a four-pitch walk to Jose Ramirez, Encarnacion jumped on a first-pitch fastball to give Cleveland a brief lead.
Gibson was under the weather, but said that wasn't a factor in getting pulled because the coaching staff was unaware of his illness.
"That was just something that -- physically -- warming up just didn't feel good and just had stomach churning most of the day," Gibson said. "Nothing that factored into any hits or anything like that, or being taken out
Michael Brantley later tied the game with his solo homer off reliever Addison Reed in the eighth and the Twins saw Ehire Adrianza get thrown out at home on a LaMarre double in the bottom of the inning, but Rosario's heroics in the ninth helped the Twins to the huge series win.
"It's really important," Rosario said. "These three games, we proved the Twins belong. It's a long season but it's a good experience for the team to win these games."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Yan Gomes hit a deep drive to left that hit off the top of the wall, mere inches from a home run. It was ruled a double and it was upheld after a crew chief review. Gomes ended up getting thrown out at second on a sacrifice bunt, suppressing a rally and keeping the Indians from adding any critical insurance runs.
Rosario became the 34th player to hit three homers in a game, including a walk-off blast, according to Baseball-Reference. Manny Machado was the last to do it, when he pulled off the feat against the Angels on Aug. 18, 2017. The only players to do it since '02 are Jose Pujols, Ryan Howard, Joey Votto, Khris Davis, Machado and Rosario.
"It was something we really needed, a guy to go out there and put together a bunch of extra-base hits like he has, and hit a couple big homers like he has," Gibson said. "I think our offense got a lot of momentum from him doing that all May and hopefully we keep it going."
HE SAID IT
"As many as we've experienced, we haven't had a lot of those chances to see the home-plate celebrations. The right guy did it. I didn't see exactly what happened, but I'm sure it was pretty festive." -- Molitor, on the club's third walk-off win of the year after already suffering eight walk-off losses this season
After an off-day on Monday, the Twins have a doubleheader against the White Sox that begins on Tuesday at 3:10 p.m. CT at Target Field. Right-hander Zack Littell is expected to be called up from Triple-A Rochester to make his debut and start one of the two games, but the Twins haven't announced their starters for the twinbill. The White Sox will start Reynaldo Lopez (1-4, 3.80 ERA) in Game 1 and Lucas Giolito (3-6, 7.53 ERA) in Game 2.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and **Facebook**.