MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Carlos Santana hit a grand slam in the 10th inning, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Minnesota Twins 7-3 on Sunday to win the four-game series and forge another tie for the AL Central lead.
The Twins tied the game with four hits in a two-run ninth against Brad Hand (5-3), using a single by Luis Arraez and a double by Marwin Gonzalez to extend the game.
As pinch-runner Ehire Adrianza tried to score the winning run from first base, left fielder Tyler Naquin grabbed the ball off the bounce from the wall and zipped a throw to shortstop Francisco Lindor, whose relay home was in perfect position for catcher Kevin Plawecki to tag Adrianza with ease.
That was Naquin’s 10th outfield assist, moving into a tie for third in the majors.
Twins closer Taylor Rogers (2-3) allowed a single, a walk and another single on a bunt by Greg Allen to load the bases with none out for Santana, who quickly erased the late-inning drama with one big swing. The All-Star first baseman has reached base at least once in 53 of his last 57 games since June 4, the exact date when the Indians began their surge. They’re 42-17 during that span, the best record in the majors.
Aaron Civale contributed another solid performance in his third major league start, tossing six smooth innings after Allen homered and Yasiel Puig hit an RBI double in the first inning to get the Indians going against All-Star José Berriós. Santana added an RBI single in the third for a 3-1 lead, before Berrios settled in to retire 11 straight batters.
The Indians leaned on their trusty bullpen, with a baseball-best 3.19 ERA entering the game, to create a tie in the division race for the second time in three days. The Twins had sole possession of first place from April 27 until Friday, before bypassing the Indians again Saturday with a 4-1 victory. Their lead was as big as 11½ games on June 3 and still 7½ games on July 13.
Nick Goody record three straight outs in the seventh after the first two batters reached base. Oliver Pérez pitched a perfect eighth. After Hand hit the big bump in the ninth, Hunter Wood pitched a perfect 10th inning to end the game.
The Twins and Indians play seven more times, all in September.