Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Shin-Soo Choo knocked in the game-winning run in the top of the ninth inning as the Cleveland Indians earned a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins in the opener of a two-game set at Target Field.
With Matt Capps (0-2) on the mound, Casey Kotchman started the rally with a one-out single. After Aaron Cunningham popped out, Kotchman advanced to second on a wild pitch by Capps, and Choo ripped a 3-2 two-seam fastball into right field to bring home pinch-runner Lou Marson.
"That last pitch just ran back over the plate," remarked Capps. "I made a nice pitch two pitches before that kind of froze him and I was trying to throw that same pitch."
Chris Perez worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning to nail down his 12th save of the season, which made a winner out of Joe Smith (3-1), who got the final out of the home eighth.
Kotchman crushed a two-run homer, while Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner each added a run batted in for the Indians, who snapped a three-game skid.
Jeanmar Gomez went seven strong innings in the start for Cleveland, giving up one unearned run on three hits and three walks while fanning two in the no- decision.
"Gomez did a very good job, he threw a lot of strikes and had good life on his fastball," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He threw a lot of ground outs and did a very good job. I feel bad he didn't get the win, but I'm glad we were able to pull it out."
Ryan Doumit clubbed a two-run home run and Josh Willingham added an RBI double for the Twins, who have dropped two of their last three.
Minnesota broke a scoreless deadlock in the third. Darin Mastroianni roped a single up the middle to start the inning and moved to second on a groundout by Drew Butera. Jamey Carroll followed with a walk and both runners advanced on a passed ball by Santana, who then compounded his error by throwing it into left field, which allowed Mastroianni to score.
The Indians got the run back plus one in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. Jason Kipnis started the frame with a base hit and Asdrubal Cabrera ripped a ground- rule double into the left field seats to put runners on second and third with no outs. Kipnis hustled home on a groundout by Hafner and Cabrera came home on a sac fly by Santana.
The Tribe added two more runs in the fifth when Jose Lopez doubled to start the inning and Kotchman followed by waiting back and hammering a changeup from Twins starter Carl Pavano over the wall in right field for a 4-1 cushion.
Minnesota battled back with three runs in the eighth to tie the game at four. Facing Vinnie Pestano to start the frame, Denard Span worked a leadoff walk and after Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer made outs, Willingham smashed a double down the left field line to bring home Span to make it 4-2.
Nick Hagadone replaced Pestano on the mound and immediately served up Doumit's homer on a 2-0 fastball that quickly found its way into the left field seats.
Monday marked the first meeting of the season between the AL Central rivals. Cleveland took the season series last year, 11-7...Kipnis extended his road hitting streak to 10 games...Gomez's seven-inning performance matched the longest outing of his career. It was the third time in his career and second time this season that he has pitched seven frames...Cleveland finished 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded six, while Minnesota was 2-for-6 with men in scoring position and left six on base...Pavano lasted six innings and gave up four runs on six hits without walking a batter and fanning three.
05/15 00:04:22 ET