Trying to avoid 100 losses
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Thanks in part to an inadvertent gesture in the dugout, Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire kept his Twins from taking another one on the chin.
Rene Tosoni homered in the 10th inning and Chris Parmelee added an RBI single to give Minnesota a 6-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.
It was only the third win in 22 games for the battered and reeling Twins, who caught a break when Gardenhire decided to scratch his chin.
Thinking he was supposed to give Joe Benson a green light to steal, third base coach Steve Liddle relayed the signs. Benson was thrown out to end the ninth inning with Tosoni at-bat as a pinch-hitter.
Gardenhire had Tosoni replace Benson in right field and was rewarded when the rookie drove a 1-1 pitch from Tony Sipp (6-3) into the right-field stands leading off the 10th.
Kyle Waldrop (1-0) worked a scoreless ninth for his first career win and Joe Nathan pitched the 10th for his 10th consecutive save and 14th in 17 chances overall.
The Twins have 98 losses with three games left and cannot tie the 1982 club for the worst record (60-102) since the franchise moved to Minnesota 50 years ago.
The crowd got a big surprise when Jim Thome played third base in what could be his last appearance at Progressive Field. The 41-year-old slugger, reacquired last month from the Twins, took the position for one pitch in the ninth.
"It was a nice gesture," he said. "It was fun."
Thome got a standing ovation as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. When he walked, the crowd booed Twins pitcher Glen Perkins. Moments later, fans cheered again as Thome went to third -- where he started his career in 1991. He had not played there since Sept. 29, 1996. The next year, he moved to first base and after 2002 played for four teams, including the Twins, until returning to Cleveland last month.
Joe Smith threw one strike to Trevor Plouffe before Thome returned to the dugout amid more cheers.
"I just wanted Trevor to bunt the first pitch before (Thome) got taken out," Gardenhire chuckled. "He didn't, but I really wanted him to drop a bunt down on the first pitch just to entertain ourselves."
Denard Span opened the game with a gift double as Cleveland's Shelley Duncan misjudged his line drive to left field. Ben Revere followed with a single up the middle, scoring Span. One out later, Parmelee singled Revere to third and Danny Valencia followed with a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.
Plouffe tied it at 4-4 with his eighth homer, a 425-foot shot into the left-field bleachers in the sixth.
Twins drop two to Tribe
CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins began the season with aspirations of reaching the World Series.
But Saturday's day-night doubleheader against Cleveland best sums up Minnesota's season.
After losing the opener 8-2, the Twins took a 6-0 lead into the sixth inning of the second game, but watched the Indians score five times in the sixth and twice in the seventh to send Minnesota to a 7-6 loss.
Drew Butera drove in three runs from the No. 9 spot in Minnesota's order.
Scott Diamond took a three-hit shutout into the sixth, but allowed four more hits and four runs. Alex Burnett yielded two hits and one run before Jose Mijares (0-2) got out of the inning with a 6-5 lead.
Mijares came out for the seventh, but gave up singles to Jason Donald and Carlos Santana to start the inning. Mijares struck out Jim Thome, but Duncan lined Capps' 3-2 pitch down the left-field line, scoring both runners.
Francisco Liriano (9-10) gave up five runs and got only one out in Cleveland's six-run sixth in the opener.