Michael Brantley singled in Greg Allen with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Cleveland Indians their second consecutive walk-off victory, 5-4 over the visiting Minnesota Twins on Thursday afternoon at Progressive Field.
Allen opened the inning with a single off reliever Addison Reed (1-6), stole second and went to third on groundout by Francisco Lindor - who had won Wednesday night’s contest with a three-run, walk-off homer. Brantley followed the game-winning single through a drawn-in infield into right field.
It was 12th walk-off loss for Minnesota, the most for the Twins since their 1987 World Series winning squad.
Lindor had two hits - his American League-leading 47th multi-hit game - and drove in three runs, and Yonder Alonso homered for Cleveland, which increased its lead to 11 games over second-place Minnesota in the AL Central. Jason Kipnis walked three times and scored two runs for the Indians, who improved to 21-6 at home against AL Central opponents. Andrew Miller (2-3) picked up the win in relief with a hitless ninth inning. Jorge Polanco hit a three-run homer to lead Minnesota.
Alonso started a three-run second inning for the Indians with a leadoff 400-foot homer to right off Jose Berrios, his 20th of the season. Cleveland became the first team in the major leagues this season to have four players with 20 or more home runs. Alonso joined Jose Ramirez (33), Lindor (29) and Edwin Encarnacion (25) in the 20-homer club.
“Greg Allen did a great job leading off the inning getting on base and stealing second. Francisco Lindor put me in that opportunity by moving the guy over. That’s a team effort all the way around right there,” Brantley said Melky Cabrera and Kipnis followed Alonso’s blast with walks and were sacrificed to second and third by catcher Roberto Perez. After Allen struck out, Lindor lined a sharp single to right to drive in Cabrera and Kipnis.
The Indians made it 4-0 in the fourth on Lindor’s AL-leading 38th double of the season that drove in Kipnis, who had walked. The Twins cut it to 4-1 in the fifth when Max Kepler led off with a double to centre, advanced to third on a flyout by Ehire Adrianza and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jake Cave.
Polanco then tied it an inning later with his first homer of the year, a three-run shot into the front row in right-centre off starter Corey Kluber, driving in Bobby Wilson and Eddie Rosario, who had both singled earlier.
Kluber allowed four runs and seven hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked none. Berrios was touched up for four runs and four hits in four innings. He walked six and fanned five.
Red Sox’s win streak ends despite Betts’ cycle
Mookie Betts hit for the cycle for the first time in his career Thursday night, but it was not enough to give the visiting Boston Red Sox a three-game sweep over the Toronto Blue Jays, who held on to win 8-5. Boston’s six-game winning streak ended while Toronto snapped a three-game skid. Betts hit his 27th homer of the season against Ken Giles in the ninth inning to go with a single in the first, a triple in the second and a double in the fourth. It was the first cycle of the major league season. He also walked in the sixth.
The Blue Jays, However, got a two-run homer and three RBIs from Randal Grichuk, a solo shot from Teoscar Hernandez and five innings from Ryan Borucki to salvage the series finale.
Borucki (2-2) allowed four runs, nine hits and three walks and struck out two in five innings. He earned his second consecutive win and the second of his major league career. Justin Smoak added three hits and two RBIs for Toronto.
J.D. Martinez homered for the Red Sox, his major-league-leading 35th of the season. Boston starter Rick Porcello (14-5) allowed seven runs, six hits and three walks while striking out five in four-plus innings. The Red Sox jumped in front in the first on a two-run single by Eduardo Nunez. The two-out hit came after Boston loaded the bases on a leadoff single by Betts, an infield single by Andrew Benintendi and a walk by Xander Bogaerts.
Toronto countered with two runs in the bottom of the first. Curtis Granderson and Devon Travis walked. Smoak hit an RBI single, and Grichuk’s fielder’s choice grounder scored Travis.
The Blue Jays scored once in the second. Russell Martin walked, took third on a single by Aledmys Diaz and scored on an error by third baseman Nunez.
Hernandez put Toronto ahead 4-2 in the third with his 18th homer of the season. The Red Sox tied the game in the top of the fifth. Martinez homered, and Nunez singled, stole second and scored on Brock Holt’s single. The Blue Jays took a 7-4 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Travis singled, Smoak hit an RBI double, and Grichuk hit his 16th homer of the season. Brandon Workman then replaced Porcello.
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