Justin Morneau's walk-off homer in ninth gives Twins a win over Tribe
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MINNEAPOLIS -- A walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning by Justin Morneau capped a drama-filled victory for the Minnesota Twins, 8-7 over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.
Morneau's blast -- a line drive just inside the foul pole in right field -- came with two outs off right-hander Vinnie Pestano and left the ballpark in a flash.
The home run was Morneau's 19th of the season and second of the game, and it ultimately capped a four-run comeback for the Twins.
"I was looking for the pitch that I got, just something to drive, something to pull," Morneau said. "I faced him a couple nights ago, he jammed me, so I had a feeling he might try to come in there again, and he did and left it over the plate just a little bit, and I just kept it fair enough and we get to jump up and down and have fun."
Chris Parmelee delivered some false drama in the bottom of the seventh inning when he put the Twins in front 7-6 with a two-out, two-run single off left-hander Tony Sipp.
The Indians answered again with one out in the eighth, when Jason Donald drove home Brent Lillibridge -- who reached after being hit by a pitch -- after his line drive to the gap in right-center field made it all the way to the fence. Center fielder Ben Revere initially broke on the ball as if he was going to catch it, but then scrambled at the last minute to find a better route, unsuccessfully.
Donald slid into third with a triple.
Revere made up for a possible poor route in the eighth with a diving catch in the ninth to rob Ezequiel Carrera of a hit that would have driven in the go-ahead run.
In his second career major league start, Esmerling Vasquez rarely found the strike zone. In his three innings of work, the right-hander allowed four earned runs on three hits and five walks while striking out two.
Only 32 of his 68 pitches were strikes, including only 13 of his 30 off-speed pitches.
The Indians jumped in front in the second inning on a solo home run by Carlos Santana, a sac fly by Shin-Soo Choo and a wild pitch by Vasquez that scored Jason Donald. Vasquez also walked three batters in the inning.
Cleveland went up 4-0 on a sac fly by Brent Lillibridge in the third.
The Indians' lead did not last long. Joe Mauer tripled home Jamey Carroll with one out in the bottom of the third, and Morneau followed with a moon-shot homer that bounced through the right-field plaza, bringing the Twins within a run at 4-3.
In the bottom of the fourth, Darin Mastroianni advanced from first to third on a wild pitch by Kluber. He scored two batters later when Pedro Florimon's bloop to left field dropped in safely. Revere followed with an RBI single to put the Twins in front, 5-4.
The Indians answered immediately against Anthony Swarzak in the top of the fifth, scoring a run on a double by Santana and another run on an RBI single by Russ Canzler.
Trailing 6-5 in the bottom of the seventh, the Twins began to mount a rally with Revere reaching on an infield single and stealing second base. Revere was caught too far off base on a Carroll chopper back to pitcher Esmil Rogers, resulting in the first out of the inning, but Mauer followed with an opposite-field double down the left-field line.
Carroll charged hard around third base, but he slammed on the brakes after seeing Steve Liddle's stop sign.
After an intentional walk to Morneau, Indians manager Manny Acta brought in left-hander Tony Sipp to face Ryan Doumit, who flew out harmlessly to shallow right field for the second out.
This set the stage for the red-hot Parmelee to deliver a clutch, two-out, two-run single to put the Twins in front.
"He had some numbers off Sipp," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We were looking on the bench. I could probably put Willingham in there but they'd probably bring the submariner. So this is the time where we want to see what Parms could do.
"He had a heck of a year in Triple-A and you leave in there and he gets a big base hit with two strikes and off a left-hander. He had some success off him but we wanted to see what he could do in big situations and he came through today."
3: Triples for Mauer this season
.277/.337/.473: Morneau's batting line. He said part of the credit goes to the extra workload he was able to implement earlier this summer when his wrist started to feel better. ""Yeah, I got to the point where I did the extra stuff I'd normally do in the offseason and I had to back off a little bit, just to try to have something left for the month of September. Now it got to the point where I kind of got more comfortable with my mechanics, and my swing felt more like myself. and then we kind of got into a routine, and we've stuck with that the last month, month and a half. ... When you don't get to put that work in in the offseason like you normally would, or do the things you kind of do to prepare and you end up doing it during the season, sometimes it's a little bit of a battle. But it's something that hopefully (I'll) finish strong and keep carrying it into the offseason and feel good."
5: Walk-off hits for the Twins this season
18: Multi-HR games for Morneau in his career, including four this season
36: Stolen bases for Revere, which marks the most by a Twins player since Otis Nixon in 1997.
"Yeah, all I was thinking about when I was coming down third was, 'Don't hit me in the head.' That's why I took my helmet off. I took a pretty good head-butt from Parm, and a cooler in the back of the neck. But other than that, it was fun. If you can stand up to that, I think it'll be alright."
OF Denard Span (collarbone) continues to work out and take batting practice. He is eligible to return from the disabled list on Wednesday.
Monday: vs. Indians, 7:10 p.m. RHP Samuel Deduno (5-3, 3.66) vs. RHP Justin Masterson (11-12, 4.84)
Tuesday: vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m. LHP Scott Diamond (11-6, 3.35) vs. LHP Will Smith (4-7, 5.45)
Wednesday: vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m. RHP P.J. Walters (2-3, 6.05) vs. RHP Luke Hochevar (7-13, 5.35)