CLEVELAND (AP) – Carlos Santana hit a solo home run that broke a seventh-inning tie and the Cleveland Indians avoided a sweep against the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins with a 4-3 win on Sunday.
After the Indians lost the first two matchups, All-Star MVP Shane Bieber helped Cleveland salvage the finale and close within 6 ½ games of the Twins.
Santana, coming off his first career All-Star appearance, lined an 0-2 pitch from Trevor May (3-2) into the right-field seats for his 21st homer of the season.
Adam Cimber (5-2) pitched 1 1/3 innings and worked out of two jams. The right-hander struck out Nelson Cruz with the bases loaded to end the seventh and whiffed Miguel Sanó with the tying run on second to finish the eighth.
Brad Hand pitched the ninth for his 24th save in 25 opportunities. Second baseman Jason Kipnis misplayed Ehire Adrianza’s grounder to start the inning, but Hand struck out the next three batters, including Jorge Polanco in a matchup of All-Stars.
Bieber, who struck out the side in his one inning against the NL on Tuesday night in front of a hometown crowd, took a three-hit shutout into the seventh before Minnesota rallied with three runs and tied the game. Two replay reviews – both resulting in a Minnesota batter being hit by a pitch – played a major role in the inning.
Luis Arraez drew a leadoff walk in the seventh and Mitch Garver was hit by a pitch, a call that was upheld after a Cleveland challenge. Marwin González’s single scored Arraez and Sanó’s single loaded the bases.
Bieber’s 0-2 pitch to Jake Cave was ruled a foul ball, but the Twins challenged the call. The replay showed the ball hit Cave on the hand, forcing in a run and cutting the lead to 3-2.
Bieber struck out Jonathan Schoop and was relieved by Oliver Perez. Max Kepler’s bloop hit to center tied the game. Polanco struck out and Cimber whiffed Cruz.
José Ramírez gave Cleveland a first-inning lead with a run-scoring double. Greg Allen and Tyler Naquin had RBI singles in the fourth.
Twins All-Star José Berríos allowed three runs in in five innings. The right-hander, who also pitched a scoreless inning against the NL, hasn’t won since June 6.
Twins center fielder Byron Buxton was out of the lineup after leaving Saturday’s game. He made a head-first, diving catch on Oscar Mercado’s sinking liner in the eighth.
Twins: OF Eddie Rosario (sprained left ankle) ran the bases and took flyballs before the game. He has been on the 10-day injured list since June 28, but could be activated when Minnesota returns home Tuesday.
Indians: Naquin returned after missing two games with a sore back. He was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base.
Twins: RHP Michael Pineda (6-4, 4.56 ERA) takes on Mets RHP Zack Wheeler (6-5, 4.42 ERA) in the opener of a two-game series Tuesday at Target Field.
Indians: RHP Adam Plutko (3-1, 4.95 ERA) faces Tigers LHP Daniel Norris (2-8, 4.96 ERA) in a four-game series opener Monday at Progressive Field.