CLEVELAND (AP) – Roberto Perez’s three-run homer helped the Cleveland Indians salvage the finale of their AL Central showdown series with a 7-5 win over the big-swinging Minnesota Twins, who tied a major league home run record Sunday.
Perez’s 417-foot shot to center field off Kyle Gibson capped a four-run rally in the sixth inning that began with Jason Kipnis hitting a double off Fernando Romero (0-1).
Nick Wittgren (5-1) relieved starter Shane Bieber and held the Twins to one run in 1 1-3 innings. James Hoyt got two outs in the ninth before Oliver Perez popped up red-hot Eddie Rosario for his first save this season – and first since 2017 with Washington.
The win kept the Indians’ faint division hopes alive. They trail the Twins by 4 1/2 games and are chasing Oakland and Tampa Bay in the wild-card race.
Rosario homered twice and Miguel Sano and rookie LaMonte Wade Jr. connected as the Twins became the 13th team – and first since the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies – to have four players reach 30 homers in the same season.
Sano, who homered in the third off starter Shane Bieber, has 29 homers and two weeks left to reach the milestone, which would give Minnesota the record.
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop had two of four errors by the Twins, who lost for just the third time in their last 17 road games.
They came to Cleveland looking to put away the Indians and nearly did with another power-packed performance. Minnesota has 287 homers after hitting just 166 in 2018.
Rosario’s 419-foot homer in the sixth tied it 2-2 and gave him 30 homers, joining Nelson Cruz (37), Max Kepler (36) and Mitch Garver (30) at the plateau.
Rosario connected for his 31st in the seventh to pull the Twins within 6-5.
But the Indians responded with a run in their half, helped by Schoop’s second miscue. Pinch-hitter Mike Freeman’s RBI single gave the Indians a two-run cushion.
After winning twice Saturday following a rainout, manager Rocco Baldelli rested some of his regulars and pushed All-Star right-hander Jose Berrios back one day for added rest and to better align his starting rotation for the stretch.
Baldelli couldn’t have been happy with how his team started. The Twins made two errors in the first inning to help the Indians take a 2-0 lead.
Twins: Utility INF Ehire Adrianza rejoined the club Saturday to begin treatment for a strained right oblique. Adrianza, who got hurt while swinging against Washington on Thursday, hopes to be playing by the end of the regular season.
Indians: Closer Brad Hand threw in the outfield before the game. The left-hander has struggled during the season’s second half and the club is trying to get him some rest while building up arm strength. There’s no timetable on his return. … RHP Corey Kluber didn’t have any issues after playing catch for the first time since straining an oblique. The two-time Cy Young winner hasn’t pitched for Cleveland since breaking his right arm on May 1.
Twins: Open a three-game series at home against Chicago with Berrios (12-8, 3.63) starting against White Sox right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (9-13, 5.35 ERA).
Indians: Following an off day, Cleveland opens a three-game series against Detroit with Adam Plutko (6-4, 4.42 ERA) facing left-hander Matthew Boyd. The Indians have won 13 straight over the Tigers.
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