Max Kepler dives for the go-ahead run

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Twins rally past Indians, boost AL Central lead to 6 1/2 games

Polanco delivers go-ahead hit after Twins win replay challenge

July 13, 2019 - 6:48 am
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   CLEVELAND (AP) - A replay challenge set in motion a late rally that helped the Twins add to their lead in the AL Central.

   After Max Kepler was ruled safe on a close play at first in the top of the seventh inning, Jorge Polanco smashed a two-run double for the go-ahead score, and the Twins went on to beat the Indians 5-3.

   The Indians' six-game winning streak was stopped, and the Twins boosted their lead in the division to 6 1/2 games.

   The Twins took advantage of an error in the seventh by reliever Nick Goody before Polanco delivered his clutch, two-out hit off Oliver Perez (2-2).

   "I knew I hit it well, and as soon as I hit it, I knew it was going to the wall," Polanco said. "I was just looking for a good pitch to hit."

   Indians manager Terry Francona felt center fielder Oscar Mercado could have made a better play.

   "It looked to me like right off the bat he got his feet a little bit tangled up and then he turned the wrong way," Francona said. "And after that it was too late."

   Nelson Cruz and Mitch Garver homered for Minnesota.

   Zack Littell (2-0) pitched a scoreless sixth, Ryne Harper worked the seventh and left-hander Taylor Rogers got six outs for his 13th save.

   Carlos Santana connected for his 20th homer for Cleveland. The Indians trimmed six games off Minnesota's lead by going a major league-best 21-8 since June 4.

   Goody came in to protect a 3-1 lead and got one out in the eighth before he couldn't cleanly field a slow roller by Miguel Sano.

   The right-hander compounded his problems by walking Ehire Adrianza before getting a second out. However, Max Kepler made it 3-2 with an infield RBI single - on a call that was overturned by video replay - before Polanco followed with a drive over rookie center fielder Orlando Mercado's head, scoring Adrianza and Kepler.

   Garver made it 5-3 in the eighth with his 14th homer.

   This young Minnesota team seemed to be showing signs of feeling pressure with the three-time defending Central champions nipping at their heels. But the Twins shook off two errors and came back to stun the Indians, who have been riding high and hoped to keep the momentum after hosting the All-Star Game.

   Indians starter Mike Clevinger allowed just one run - the homer to Nelson in the first - over five-plus innings and was in line to get the win before Cleveland's bullpen had a rare meltdown.

   Roberto Perez's two-run single gave the Indians a 3-1 lead in the fourth.

   A first-time All-Star at 33, Santana led off with his homer. Santana, who was beaten in the first round of the All-Star Home Run Derby by eventual winner Pete Alonso, has reached base safely in 30 straight games - the majors' longest current streak.

   In the first, Cruz guessed right and drove a 96 mph fastball from Clevinger over the wall in center and into shrubbery next to Minnesota's bullpen.

   It was the Twins' 167th homer, one more than they had all last season.

   RELAXED ROCCO

   Polanco, RHP Jose Berrios and RHP Jake Odorizzi represented the Twins at the All-Star Game, but manager Rocco Baldelli didn't come to Cleveland. He spent his four-day break attending a Phish concert and relaxing. "I even took a nap or two, which was good," he said.

   TRAINER'S ROOM

   Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario (left ankle sprain), who has been on the 10-day injured list since June 28, worked out with the team. Rosario said he would be activated "soon," but manager Rocco Baldelli said it might not happen until Minnesota returns home Tuesday to play the Mets.

   UP NEXT

   Twins righthander Jake Odorizzi (10-4, 3.15 ERA) comes off the IL to start after being sidelined with a finger blister. The All-Star tied his career-high with 11 strikeouts against Cleveland on March 30.

   On the mound for the Indians is righthander Trevor Bauer (8-6, 3.61 ERA), who led the majors with 132 innings pitched and ranked fourth in the AL with 149 strikeouts in the season's first half. He's just 2-4 with a 4.96 ERA at home.

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