CLEVELAND – Jordan Luplow hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning off Alex Colomé, giving the Cleveland Indians a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins in their series opener Monday night.
Luplow’s second career game-ending homer was a leadoff shot that easily cleared the wall in left field, scoring free runner César Hernández from second base. Minnesota fell to 0-5 in extra-inning games and has the second-worst record in the American League.
Emmanuel Clase (2-1) worked one perfect inning for the win, helping Cleveland to its second straight victory.
Luplow was the only batter faced by Colomé (1-3).
“It definitely feels good when you get to admire it for a little bit,” Luplow said, smiling. “Honestly, I was just trying to put the ball in play and give the team a chance to win. The scene with all my teammates at home plate was something that I’ll never forget.”
It was the first of 19 meetings this season between teams that have combined to win the last five AL Central titles. Minnesota is the two-time defending champion.
Luis Arraez had given the Twins a 3-2 lead in the eighth when he singled home Jake Cave with two outs, but José Ramírez answered in the bottom half with a homer off Tyler Duffey that hooked just inside the foul pole in right.
“What José did was definitely a fire-starter, for sure,” Luplow said.
José Berríos of Minnesota worked 5 2/3 innings, permitting two runs and five hits, but was forced to leave the game after an inadvertent second mound visit by manager Rocco Baldelli.
Baldelli said he didn’t realize pitching coach Wes Johnson had already visited the right-hander in the sixth, and accepted full blame for the mistake.
“That’s on me and obviously, not a great moment,” Baldelli said. “I wanted to talk to José and give him the opportunity to keep pitching, but I was locked in on something else with the team before I went out.”
Cleveland starter Zach Plesac allowed three runs in a season-high 7 2/3 innings, striking out four. Bryan Shaw followed and retired all four batters he faced.
“A lot of good things had to happen tonight or we don’t win that game,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Because Zach and Bryan kept them in check, every run was important.”
Minnesota went in front 2-0 on a solo homer by Brent Rooker in the second and a sacrifice fly by Jorge Polanco in the fourth.
Eddie Rosario doubled home Hernández with two outs in the sixth, then came around on Franmil Reyes’ single to pull Cleveland even at 2. Rosario spent his first six seasons with the Twins before signing with the Indians on Feb. 4.
“The only difference so far is it’s been colder than I expected in Cleveland,” he said.
Josh Naylor tied his career high with three hits and Rosario had two. Indians catcher Roberto Pérez stole his first base since Aug. 11, 2018.
Alex Kirilloff doubled for his first major league hit for the Twins, who reinstated shortstop Andrelton Simmons from the COVID-19 injured list.
Indians president Chris Antonetti defended the rights of RHP James Karinchak to speak out against mass COVID-19 vaccinations, but said the franchise does not agree with him. “The vast majority of our players and staff opted for the vaccine and continue to follow the protocols around mask wearing, and that’s something we’ll continue to encourage and support,” Antonetti said. “But in the end, people are free to make their own choices and decisions.”
Twins: OF Byron Buxton (patella soreness) was not in the lineup after waking up with a sore knee. Buxton underwent four hours of treatment upon arriving at Progressive Field and will be re-evaluated Tuesday.
Indians: RHP Nick Wittgren (paternity list) and wife Ashley welcomed the birth of their son, Camden, at 2:30 a.m. LHP Kyle Nelson was recalled from the alternate site to replace Wittgren on the active roster.
Twins: RHP Kenta Maeda (1-1, 6.11 ERA) has won all three of his career starts against Cleveland, posting a 0.50 ERA with 20 strikeouts over 18 innings.
Indians: RHP Aaron Civale (3-0, 2.42 ERA) has not lost in four starts this season, allowing only 14 hits and nine walks in 26 innings while striking out 22.
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