The Minnesota offense came back to life, Joe Mauer made three baserunning errors and the Indians ruined Hector Santiago’s Twins debut in a 9-2 Cleveland win on Thursday afternoon.
Santiago went 5.0 innings, giving up five hits and four earned runs, including a pair of home runs, one to Jason Kipnis and another to Carlos Santana.
“Two bad pitches. Two cutters that kind of stayed in the middle and that’s it,” Santiago told the Star Tribune. “Usually in that situation, I make a better pitch.”
Relievers Michael Tonkin and Tommy Milone also gave up home runs, putting a game that the Twins were slowly creeping back into out of reach.
“It was a pretty good game for six innings,” Twins manager Paul Molitor told the Associated Press, “and I thought we were right in it until things fell apart.”
Mauer had a rough day on the base paths. He misread a ball that trickled out of Brandon Guyer’s glove in the first inning, and was doubled off when strayed too far off the base on a bases-loaded liner in the third.
But his most egregious error was when he gave up reaching third on an Abraham Almonte bobble. Max Kepler saw the misplay in the outfield and raced to center, only to see Mauer still at second — a combined effort that led to Mauer being stranded between second and third.
“We ran ourselves into an out there in a big situation,” Molitor told the Pioneer Press. “Max just put his head down. Kind of Baserunning 101. What the guy in front of you sees isn’t what you always see.”
Either way, while it may have been a poor way to end the series, Minnesota still took three of four from the Indians, one of the AL’s contenders this season.
“They were the best team in baseball these past three days,” Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor told the Associated Press. “It was unreal watching them. I’m glad they’re out of here.”[Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, Associated Press]