Plouffe lifts Twins past Indians in 10th
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Trevor Plouffe and the Minnesota Twins played spoiler — at the Cleveland Indians’ expense.
Plouffe singled in Danny Santana in the 10th inning to give the Twins a 5-4, comeback victory Friday night, further damaging the Indians’ already slim playoff hopes.
“It’s not exactly where we want to be. We’d rather be on their side,” Plouffe said. “We know we’re out of it, but this is a time for a lot of guys to show they can play in a situation like this, against these good teams late in the season. I think we did a pretty good job.”
The Twins won their third straight game after taking two of a three-game series against the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers at Target Field this week.
Santana led off the 10th inning with a single off Kyle Crockett (4-1) and advanced to third on Brian Dozier’s single to right-center. Joe Mauer was intentionally walked to load the bases and Crockett struck out rookie slugger Kennys Vargas, who homered in the game.
Josh Tomlin entered the game to face Plouffe, who dropped a two-strike pitch just in front of lunging center-fielder Michael Bourn.
″(Plouffe) took a bad swing on the first pitch, then regrouped,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “The guy kind of got one out and over the plate and he flipped it out there, which like I said, was a big one.” With the Twins trailing 4-3 in the ninth, Kurt Suzuki hit a one-out double off closer Cody Allen and was replaced by pinch-runner Eduardo Nunez. Nunez moved to third on Oswaldo Arcia’s single and scored to tie it when Aaron Hicks grounded into fielder’s choice.
Jared Burton (3-5) stranded Michael Brantley at second base to end the top of the 10th. Brantley homered and Lonnie Chisenhall had two hits and a RBI for Cleveland, which entered the night four games out of the final AL wild-card spot.
Twins starter Phil Hughes lasted seven innings, allowing 10 hits, four earned runs and striking out five batters in the no decision.
Minnesota has nine games left this season, six against the Indians and Tigers.
“Obviously, not much to play for at this time,” Hughes said. “But we’ll certainly spoil some people’s plans and that’s fun sometimes.”
Arcia homered for Minnesota in the third off Trevor Bauer. It was Arcia’s fourth homer this season off Bauer.
Josh Tomlin was the eighth reliever for Cleveland, which set an American League record during the game by going to the bullpen 547 times this season.
Detroit and Kansas City sit atop the AL Central and play a three-game series this weekend. Cleveland needs one of those teams to sweep the other, then some help from Oakland and Seattle in order to sneak into the playoffs.
TWINS: All-Star closer Glen Perkins has been shut down for the season with a strain and nerve irritation in his left forearm. Twins GM Terry Ryan said Perkins should be ready in plenty of time for spring training after an offseason strengthening and maintenance program.
Ryan said SS Eduardo Escobar should return from a jammed shoulder in the next couple of days.
INDIANS: 2B Jason Kipnis missed the game with a sore right hamstring. Francona said Kipnis could be back for Saturday’s game.
OF Ryan Raburn underwent surgery on his left knee Friday to repair a lateral meniscus tear, ending his season. He hit .200 with four homers and 22 RBIs after signing a two-year, $4.85 million contract extension in the offseason.
Twins rookie Trevor May (3-4, 7.71) will try to win his fourth straight after losing the first four starts of his career.
T.J. House (3-3, 3.42) will make his 17th career start. He’ll be pitching on nine days rest and is 2-0 with a 1.56 ERA against the Twins.