MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins won in walk-off fashion for a second straight night, as Miguel Sano hit an RBI single into center field in the ninth inning to lift Minnesota to a 6-5 win over the Indians on Tuesday at Target Field.
Sano's game-winner came off closer Cody Allen and scored Brian Dozier after the Indians decided to walk Joe Mauer intentionally with one out after a double from Dozier. The Twins also won on a walk-off hit Monday on Oswaldo Arcia's ninth-inning homer.
"Arcia told me be ready for a fastball and end the game," Sano said. "'Don't swing at a breaking ball,' he told me and I listened. So it's like [Monday], when I told Arcia to look for a fastball and he hit a homer. So I'm so happy. It's a great moment. Arcia told me I could be a leader and be the big guy at the end of the game."
The Twins were one out away from a win in the top of the ninth, but closer Kevin Jepsen gave up a solo shot to Mike Napoli to deep left field. It came on a 1-0 fastball from Jepsen, and Napoli was able to hammer it a projected 442 feet, per Statcast™. Jepsen ended up with the win despite blowing the save.
The homer spoiled a strong outing from Ricky Nolasco, who surprisingly has been Minnesota's best starter early this season. He struck out a season-high nine batters in 7 1/3 innings. He gave up four runs on five hits, including solo homers to Jason Kipnis in the first and Juan Uribe in the third. He left with a runner on second with one out in the eighth, but Casey Fien struck out Carlos Santana and Kipnis to get out of the jam.
Nolasco outpitched Indians right-hander Cody Anderson, who surrendered five runs on 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings. Anderson never gave up more than one run in an inning, but the Twins scored in all but the third against him. Over his past three starts, Anderson has allowed 15 runs on 28 hits in 14 innings.
"A lot of hits," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "But, I think he only had the one walk, so it didn't get out of hand, even though he gave up four, and then the fifth one on the last home run. I actually thought his last inning was probably his best inning until he threw a changeup that was just up too much to Rosario."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Nap time: Napoli went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts against the Twins on Monday, and was mired in a 2-for-21 (12 strikeouts) funk when he stepped to the plate with two outs in the ninth. That changed when Napoli deposited an 1-0 pitch from Jepsen into the second deck for a game-tying solo shot. The blast (Napoli's fourth of the season) had an exit velocity of 109.5 mph, according to Statcast™.
"Nap kind of has that knack," Francona said, "whether it's winning the game or keeping us in the game. But, when you're on the road, you're always one swing away [from a loss]."
Rosario ends Anderson's night: Anderson's last batter was Eddie Rosario with two outs in the sixth, and Rosario connected on a go-ahead homer. It was his third homer of the year, and Rosario got just enough of it, as it had an exit velocity of 97 mph and was projected at an estimated 373 feet, per Statcast™.
Keep the change: Anderson's changeup was his best weapon last year, but the pitch has given him trouble in his recent outings. Rosario (Minnesota's No. 9 hitter) attacked a first-pitch changeup and belted it over the wall in right, as Anderson shouted into his glove in disgust. It was the second homer yielded on his changeup in the past two starts. Minnesota went 0-for-5 off Anderson's changeup through the first three innings, but then went 4-for-4 off the pitch leading up to his exit.
"That's his pitch," Indians catcher Yan Gomes said of Anderson's changeup. "I don't want to call that one one of the mistakes. Rosario, we knew he was going to swing first pitch, and we tried to go with his best pitch right out of the get-go. Rosario, tip our cap to him, he stayed back on it and put a good swing on it."
Park, Suzuki team up: The Twins scored in the exact same way in both the second and fourth innings, as Byung Ho Park doubled and scored on singles from Kurt Suzuki. And both of the RBI singles from Suzuki gave the Twins short-lived one-run leads. Park nearly padded the Twins' lead in the fifth with two on and two out, as he hit a sharp liner to short, but Francisco Lindor made a leaping catch to rob him.
"We had chances to add on," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Park had a really good at-bat when he lined out to short, and with a little bit more elevation we score a little bit more. But we hung in there."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With Mauer's RBI ground-rule double in the fifth, he's now reached safely in all 21 games for the Twins, which is the longest such streak in the Majors. The club record for consecutive games reaching base to open the season is 33, set by Kent Hrbek in 1982.
"It's a frustrating thing, especially when they're putting up runs and my job is to keep them from scoring more than we are. I've got to hand it to those guys for sticking with me and battling and battling. I'm going to keep coming back and doing everything I can to help them out." -- Anderson, on his recent struggles
"Kevin has been throwing the ball good, but I know he hasn't been getting the results. He hasn't been getting many breaks. I'm not tempted at all [to change closers] right now. We're doing fine." -- Molitor on Jepsen, who has blown three saves in five chances.
"I don't want to give the excuse that it's early in the season or anything like that, because I think that's the easy route. But, even with the rough patches right now that are going on, those two guys are going to be in when the game's on the line every time for us. They have a track record of doing really well." -- Gomes, on the April troubles for Allen and setup man Bryan Shaw
The Twins lost a challenge in the first inning when Dozier was ruled out sliding into second base on a force play for the second out. The Twins challenged the ruling on the field, but the call was confirmed by replay. It came back to hurt Minnesota, as Danny Santana appeared safe on a close play at third in the fifth, but the Twins had already used their challenge. Mauer followed with an RBI double that would've scored Santana.
In the bottom of the ninth, Minnesota's Santana singled and then attempted a stolen base, and was initially ruled safe. The Indians challenged the call, and the replay showed Kipnis applying the tag just ahead of Santana's fingers touching second base. The call was overturned, giving Gomes a caught stealing after a replay review.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Right-hander Josh Tomlin (2-0, 1.54 ERA) is scheduled to take the ball in the finale of this three-game set with the Twins at 8:10 p.m. ET Wednesday. Tomlin has been off to a strong start, piling up 10 strikeouts with just one walk in 11 2/3 innings this year. He has a 2.79 ERA and 0.83 WHIP dating back to last season.
Twins: Top prospect Jose Berrios was called up from Triple-A Rochester and is expected to make his Major League debut against the Indians on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Berrios, ranked as baseball's No. 16 prospect, was 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA in three starts at Triple-A Rochester.