Twins lose in walk-off fashion
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Jim Thome gave Cleveland fans one more memory, and so did Carlos Santana, whose pinch-hit homer leading off the bottom of the ninth gave the Indians a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
Thome went 3 for 4 with three RBIs, including a two-run homer, the 604th of his career, on a night he was honored in pregame ceremonies.
Santana, batting for Lou Marson, drove the first pitch from Matt Capps (4-7) over the wall in right center for his 26th homer, giving Cleveland its 17th home win in its final at-bat.
Chris Perez (4-7) pitched one perfect inning as Cleveland pulled out a dramatic win for Thome, who has said he will wait until the offseason to announce whether or not he wants to return for a 22nd season in 2012.
Fans sat through a steady rain to salute Thome before the game, then gave the 41-year-old designated hitter a rousing ovation his first time up. The cheers increased when he lined a run-scoring double into the left-field corner, a two-out hit that got Cleveland within 2-1.
Matt LaPorta, who had three hits for Cleveland, tied it at 2 with an RBI double in the second.
Chris Parmalee's two-run single in the first off Indians starter Justin Masterson gave the Twins a 2-0 lead.
Parmalee opened the Twins' third with his third homer and Minnesota made it 4-2 later in the inning by scoring an unearned run on a throwing error by second baseman Jason Kipnis.
Thome's towering 425-foot shot to straightaway center tied it at 4 in the bottom half.
LaPorta's RBI single in the sixth put Cleveland ahead 5-4, but Rene Tosoni's RBI double off Rafael Perez tied it again in the seventh.
The Twins, headed for their first last-place finish since 2000, have won just two of their last 18 games. They blew a golden chance to break it open in the fifth when Masterson walked two and hit a batter to load the bases. Joe Benson hit a one-hopper to Masterson, who turned it into a home-to-first double play before walking Drew Butera to reload the bases.
Reliever Frank Herrmann got Ben Revere to foul out, ending the threat.
Masterson tied a career-high with six walks and hit two Twins in only 4 2-3 innings. The right-hander gave up three earned runs and five hits.
Twins starter Carl Pavano gave up five runs and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Notes: The start of the game, already set back 15 minutes to 7:20 for the pregame salute to Thome, was delayed another 27 minutes by rain. ... Benson made a nice leaping catch at wall to rob Kipnis of extra bases. ... Twins RF Michael Cuddyer left in the seventh inning with tightness in his right groin. ... It was Cleveland's 34th comeback win of the season. ... Minnesota, which has six games remaining, is four losses from its first 100-loss season since 1982.
The Minnesota Twins' injury-ravaged season took yet another bizarre twist when Danny Valencia and Denard Span were held out of the lineup Friday night after being involved in a minor traffic accident.
Valencia and Span were out of the lineup against the Cleveland Indians after suffering general soreness and headaches in the accident.
The players were traveling in separate vehicles to the airport Thursday afternoon in Minneapolis following a victory over Seattle that broke an 11-game losing streak. Valencia's car, a Range Rover Sport being driven by his fiancee, stopped in rush hour traffic and was rear-ended by Span's car. Span, also driving a Range Rover, said he was traveling about 10 mph when he hit Valencia's car.
Both vehicles suffered minor damage.
The Twins, who won the AL Central the last two seasons, have been riddled with injuries in 2011.
Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano head the list of key players who have missed significant time with injuries. Minnesota is 60-95, the worst record in the league.
"We need a rabbit's foot," Valencia said. "We have bad luck. It's unfortunate. When you think it can't get any worse, it does."
Even when the Twins finally got some good news, it was tempered by another negative turn of events.
"We had a great walkoff win, our first in about two weeks, and the next thing you know I think I had a bomb drop on my car," Valencia said.
"It's not something I expected coming into the ballpark today," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I expect a lot of things, really I expect just about anything, but that kind of put me over the top on what else can happen."
Both players said Friday they had headaches, but hope to be in the lineup Saturday. Span, who has been on the disabled list twice because of a concussion he sustained in June, played Wednesday, his first action since Aug. 13.
"I'm laughing, but it's not funny," said Span, who has appeared in only 66 games. "It's been a rough year for me. It could have been a lot worse. I'm thankful it wasn't."
Valencia said his fiancee was seeing a doctor in Minneapolis on Friday.