MINNEAPOLIS -- The Indians spoiled Twins top prospect Jose Berrios' highly anticipated Major League debut, knocking him out of the game after four-plus innings en route to a 6-5 win to avoid a three-game sweep on Wednesday night at Target Field.
"We had a little momentum coming into the series, and the first two games didn't go our way," Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis said. "Going into this off-day, we needed to get a win. We're a game above .500 right now. If you're looking at our past Aprils, I think that's much better than what we've done the last couple."
Berrios, ranked as baseball's No. 16 overall prospect, gave up five runs on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts. The 21-year-old right-hander struck out the side in the third but gave up two runs on a double from Francisco Lindor. It unraveled in the fifth, as Kipnis tied the game with an RBI double that caused the Twins to pull Berrios from the game. Cleveland tacked on three more runs that inning to take a three-run lead it wouldn't relinquish.
"When I got on the mound and threw the first pitch, I was excited, but after that, I felt comfortable," Berrios said. "Today I didn't have very good command with my secondary pitches. But that happens. So I'll keep working hard on that for my next start."
Berrios was staked to a three-run lead in the first, as Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin struggled early. Miguel Sano connected on an RBI ground-rule double to set up a sacrifice fly from Byung Ho Park and an RBI single from Oswaldo Arcia. Tomlin settled down after that, getting through 5 1/3 innings, exiting after giving up a solo shot to Park. He allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits, and picked up his third win.
Indians relievers Kyle Crockett, Zach McAllister, Bryan Shaw and closer Cody Allen combined to throw 3 2/3 scoreless innings to preserve the win. McAllister got out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh by striking out Park, while Allen picked up his seventh save with a scoreless ninth to keep the Twins from winning in walk-off fashion for a third straight night. The Twins had a runner in scoring position with one out in the ninth, but Brian Dozier struck out and Joe Mauer flied out to center to end the game.
"It's never fun when it happens, but it does," said McAllister, referring to losing in walk-off fashion on Monday and Tuesday. "As an athlete, I think you have confidence in your abilities and what you're able to do. It's definitely nice to get back out there and pitch successfully."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Lindor goes low: With runners on the corners and one out in the third inning, Berrios sent an 86-mph changeup low and out of the strike zone to Lindor. The Indians shortstop adjusted his swing accordingly and slashed it into the left-center-field gap for a two-run double, cutting Minnesota's lead to 3-2 at the time.
Byung Ho Parked: Park hit a no-doubter to center in the sixth, with the ball leaving the bat at 107 mph and traveling 441 feet from home plate, as projected by Statcast™. It was the team-leading fifth homer of the year for Park and brought the Twins within one run. Park came up again in the seventh with the bases loaded and two outs but struck out against McAllister.
"McAllister has good stuff and a good fastball," Park said through translator J.D. Kim. "He throws pretty hard. I haven't been very successful with runners in scoring position so far. I stepped in with the bases loaded and didn't get the job done, so I was very disappointed."
Kipnis ignites rally: Kipnis saw 21 pitches in three meetings with Berrios, who threw the second baseman everything but the kitchen sink. After striking out in his first two at-bats, Kipnis finally broke through in the fifth, pulling a hung curveball into the right-field corner for an RBI double that chased Berrios and sparked a four-run push.
"He threw the same pitch twice in a row. It was a mistake," Kipnis said. "They were doing a good job of locating, speeding me up and pushing and pulling on me with the fastball away, and then the changeup and curveball in. They had success the first two at-bats, but then he doubled up. And I just missed the previous curveball right before that, and he hung the second one, almost in the same spot. So, I did my job to not miss it that time."
Rosario's error costly: With one out in the fifth, Michael Brantley hit a fly ball to left that would've scored Kipnis from third as a sacrifice fly. But Eddie Rosario was focused on making the throw home and the ball went off his glove for an error. Kipnis scored and Brantley went to second on the error, coming around to score on a single from Mike Napoli.
"Rosario's play, as he does fairly well, he tried on a difficult play to get behind the ball to make a throw," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "You don't want to criticize that aspect, but catching the ball is the priority. But it fooled him, and in not getting in position, he couldn't make the play."
"Jose was obviously a little amped up, and we didn't see him at his best. He competed fairly well, but his command wasn't particularly sharp. The leadoff man getting on in four of the five innings kinda bit him a little bit." -- Molitor, on Berrios' debut
"That was some series, some game. It was like one play can change each one of the games we played. It's not a good feeling when Mauer is up, knowing that a big base hit can tie it. He's such a good hitter. He puts the ball in play. Cody made some really good pitches." -- Indians manager Terry Francona
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
At 21 years and 336 days old, Berrios was the youngest starting pitcher for the Twins since Pat Mahomes in 1992, at 21 years, 247 days.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Following a scheduled off-day on Thursday, the Indians will open a three-game weekend series against the Phillies with a 7:05 p.m. ET Interleague clash at Citizens Bank Park on Friday. Righty Corey Kluber (1-3, 4.67 ERA) will get the nod and is coming off an outstanding outing. On Saturday in Detroit, Kluber fanned 10, walked none and limited the Tigers to one run over eight innings.
Twins: Minnesota has an off-day on Thursday, but remains home to host the Tigers on Friday in a 7:10 p.m. CT start at Target Field. Right-hander Phil Hughes (1-3, 3.91 ERA) gets the nod and has registered a quality start in all of his four outings this year, but he has only the one win to show for it.