Hernandez’s homer in 10th gives Indians 5-3 win over Twins
César Hernández hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning off Alex Colomé, giving the Cleveland Indians a 5-3 victory over Minnesota on Saturday that dropped the Twins to 0-8 in extra-inning games this season.
Hernández’s first career game-ending home run led off the 10th and sliced over the right-field wall to score Austin Hedges, who started at second base under pandemic rules.
“I wanted to be aggressive, but I told myself to remain calm because this was the most important at-bat of the day,” Hernández said. “There is a shared mindset we have to win as many games as possible and the passion to play the best baseball we can.”
Colomé (2-4) also gave up Jordan Luplow’s leadoff homer in the 10th inning of a 5-3 loss at Cleveland on April 26, prompting his removal as Minnesota’s closer.
James Karinchak (2-0) got four outs, finishing a 4 2/3 inning hitless, scoreless performance by the Indians bullpen behind AL Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber.
Bieber allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six, ending his 23-game streak of at least seven strikeouts, the second-longest stretch behind the 34 by Arizona’s Randy Johnson in 1999-2000.
“We know what it’s like when Bieber is dialed in, and we went out there and got him and had a good chance to win,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “We just couldn’t come up with a big hit later in the game.”
Minnesota, which trailed 3-0 after two innings, tied the score in the sixth on rookie Alex Kirilloff’s RBI single that chased Bieber. Nick Sandlin loaded the bases with two outs, then fell behind Andrelton Simmons 3-0 in the count before striking him out.
Kirilloff has hits in nine straight games and 14 RBIs in his first 14 games in the majors.
Franmil Reyes hit a two-run homer in the first for the Indians, but left in the sixth after straining a left abdominal muscle while fouling off a pitch. Reyes will undergo an MRI on Sunday morning.
Reyes’ 11th home run of the season came off Kenta Maeda, who allowed three runs and three hits in five innings while striking out six. Baldelli planned on sending Maeda out for the sixth before being told he had a strained groin.
“As my pitch count went up, my groin got a little tighter,” Maeda said.
Cleveland extended its lead to 3-0 in the second on Hedges’ RBI single. Hedges had two hits, but popped out with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth.
Minnesota closed to 3-2 on Josh Donaldson’s sacrifice fly in the third and Miguel Sanó’s homer in the fourth. Sanó has gone deep four times during a nine-game hitting streak at Progressive Field.
“It’s less of a stuff thing and more of an execution thing for me,” Bieber said. “I’ve got to be better.”
DOWN HE GOES
Indians RHP Triston McKenzie, who walked an AL-high 30 in 31 1/3 innings, was optioned to Triple-A Columbus. One of the organization’s top prospects, he allowed six runs and walked five in 3 1/3 innings Friday in a 10-0 loss.
“We felt like here, now, it wasn’t happening for him,” manager Terry Francona said. “For Triston’s development, we need to let him hit the reset at Triple-A.”
The 23-year-old McKenzie went 1-3 with a 6.89 ERA and 44 strikeouts in seven starts and one relief appearance. He helped Cleveland reach the 2020 playoffs, going 2-1 with a 3.24 ERA.
Twins: DH Nelson Cruz (left wrist bruise) was not in the lineup for the third straight game, but took some swings. … SS Jorge Polanco (right ankle soreness) has not played since hurting an ankle Thursday at the Angels. The injury is in the same spot where Polanco has undergone two surgeries, according to Baldelli.
Indians: C Roberto Pérez (right ring finger fracture) has been on the injured list since May 5 and is expected to be sidelined until after the All-Star break. Pérez underwent surgery to stabilize the fracture by placing three pins in his hand on May 7.
Twins: LHP J.A. Happ (2-2, 5.35 ERA) gets the call in the three-game series finale. Happ has allowed 12 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings on the road, going 1-1 in three starts.
Indians: RHP Zach Plesac (4-3, 3.93 ERA) is 3-0 with a 2.20 ERA in four starts this month, striking out 19 over 28 2/3 innings.