MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kyle Gibson had the home crowd behind him and a five-run lead from his Minnesota Twins teammates as he returned to the mound for the second inning.
Hit by hit, though, Cleveland didn’t quit. By the sixth, Gibson was sitting in the dugout, staring straight ahead in disgust after the Indians had pulled ahead.
Yan Gomes had three hits including a home run, rookie pinch-hitter Tyler Holt hit the go-ahead two-run double in the sixth inning, and the Indians came back to beat the Twins 7-5 on Tuesday night.
“It’s just a bad job,” said Gibson, who gave up a solo shot to Gomes in the second and a two-run single to Zach Walters in the fourth before losing control of a slider for a wild pitch in the fifth that let Michael Bourn score and bring the Indians within 5-4.
Then came Holt’s big hit, one batter after Gibson was replaced by reliever Brian Duensing (3-3). Bourn followed with an RBI single to give the Indians a two-run edge.
“I should’ve been more relaxed and should’ve been getting ahead of guys and using that to my advantage for sure,” Gibson said.
In half of Gibson’s 24 starts, he has given up one run or no runs. But his ERA rose again, from 3.96 to 4.13, after another inability to establish some consistency.
“It looked like he was trying not to give up runs, rather than just pitching and going after `em,” Gardenhire said.
Oswaldo Arcia homered in his third straight game for the Twins, capping a five-run first with a three-run shot after Joe Mauer and Kennys Vargas also drove in runs.
But Indians starter Trevor Bauer settled down and retired the next 14 batters before being removed for Kyle Crockett (3-0), who recorded the final out in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Indians manager Terry Francona kept on managing, making a total of seven pitching changes until summoning Cody Allen for the ninth inning to notch his 16th save in 17 attempts. The Indians have won six of their last eight games, trying to stay relevant in the AL Central race behind Kansas City and Detroit.
“Can’t shut down on a team like that. You can see what they’re playing for,” Gardenhire said.
Arcia’s homer was his fifth in his last seven games and 13th this season, one shy of his 2013 rookie total. The Twins have hit 28 homers runs in their last 27 games.
The Twins started the seventh with consecutive singles, bringing up their leading – and leadoff – hitter Danny Santana with nobody out, down by two runs. After bunting foul balls twice, Santana struck out. Gardenhire defended the decision to sacrifice, challenging the rookie to improve that aspect of his game.
“He can hit a home run, yes, and he’s hitting .320, yes, but he’s got to be able to bunt,” Gardenhire said. “He might be able to bunt and get a base hit. So there is no decision there. That’s an automatic. We’re bunting `em over with Danny Santana. He’s got to be able to do that in order to stay and be a great player like we think he’s going to be. He knows that more than anybody.”
General manager Terry Ryan ruled out a return this year for RHP Mike Pelfrey, who has been out since early May, first because of a groin problem and then an elbow injury that required surgery. Pelfrey has resumed playing catch, but time is running out on the season.
“We’ll start him fresh next year and he’ll be a piece of spring training, but I don’t see any reason why we ought to push that.” Pelfrey is under contract for $5.5 million in 2015, but the competition for rotation spots will be crowded.
Twins: Ricky Nolasco (5-8) will start Wednesday, looking for his first win since July 1. The right-hander signed a four-year, $49 million contract in the offseason, and this will be his second turn for the Twins since coming off the disabled list with an elbow injury.
Indians: T.J. House (1-3) has allowed three or fewer earned runs in eight straight starts. The Indians will try to climb three games above .500 for the first time since July 19.