Twins edge Indians on Willingham's HR
Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Josh Willingham's solo homer in the bottom of the eighth inning broke a tie and made the Minnesota Twins 4-3 winners over the Cleveland Indians in the opener of this three-game set.
The Twins never trailed and held a 3-2 advantage before Cleveland tied the score with a run in the top of the eighth. Willingham, who scored earlier in the contest, stepped up with one out in the bottom of the stanza and took a Bryan Shaw (4-2) offering out to left for his ninth bomb of the season.
Casey Fien (5-4) got the win after allowing a run in the eighth, and All-Star Glen Perkins tossed a perfect ninth to secure his 23rd save of the year.
The win snaps Minnesota's six-game home losing skid against the Indians.
Kris Johnson went five innings for the Twins, surrendering two runs on five hits. Johnson remains winless in four starts and seven appearances for his career.
"It's the end result. The Twins got a victory, that's what counts," said Johnson.
Kurt Suzuki went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI for the Twins, who snapped a three-game losing skid.
Cleveland starter T.J. House went five innings, allowing three runs on six hits.
"My job is to limit the damage," said House. "If I can go out there and do that every time, I feel like I'll have pretty good success."
Consecutive singles by Kendrys Morales and Willingham in the home second led to Suzuki's two-run double to the gap in right-center field.
Both teams put one run across in the third, with Chris Dickerson's two-out RBI single cutting the deficit in half before Trevor Plouffe restored Minnesota's two-run edge with a double to center.
Cleveland chipped away, again coming within a run in the fifth inning when Yan Gomes doubled home Dickerson, who drew a two-out walk to extend the inning.
Michael Brantley's pinch-hit double in the top of the eighth led to the tying run. Nick Swisher advanced Brantley to third with a groundout and Roberto Perez made it 3-3 with his single up the middle.
Cleveland recalled House from Mahoning Valley of the New York- Penn League prior to the game and optioned pitcher Austin Adams to Triple-A Columbus ... The season series is now 4-4 ... Morales extended his hit streak to 11 games.
07/22 01:00:34 ET