CLEVELAND (AP) -- Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire kept his
clubhouse doors closed 10 extra minutes.
"The guys were a little flustered," he explained. "Sorry."
No apologies needed. This loss hurt a little more than most for
the Twins. Not just because it's September, and not just because
Detroit won. This one stung because it came in a game that Johan
Rookie Ryan Garko's bouncer scored Franklin Gutierrez from third
in the 10th inning Friday night, sending the Cleveland Indians to a
5-4 win over Minnesota and dropping the Twins two games out of
first in the AL Central.
The Twins battled back to tie it with a two-run ninth, a rally
that kept Santana unbeaten since July 9. However, Minnesota's
top-notch bullpen had a rare falter and the Twins fell to 12-1 in
games Santana has started since the All-Star break.
"It was a tough one," said Santana, who was icing his arm when
the Indians scored the winning run. "We battled the whole night
and had our chances."
Minnesota, which trailed Detroit by 10½ games on Aug. 7, is now
two back of the Detroit Tigers, who roughed up Baltimore 17-2.
Sizemore struck out and the Twins walked Casey Blake to set up a
possible double play against the slow-footed Victor Martinez, who
was 0-for-10 in his career against Reyes. However, a wild pitch
advanced the runners, Martinez was put on and Gardenhire called for
Garko, who homered in the first off Santana, then hit a hard
hopper toward center that was backhanded by second baseman Luis
Castillo, who flipped to Jason Bartlett for the force. However,
Bartlett's throw to first was off the bag, and Gutierrez scored.
Garko was swarmed by his teammates for the traditional
"It's probably the best groundout I've hit in my entire life,"
Bartlett had to avoid a slide by Martinez before getting off his
"I knew I had to get rid of it as fast as I could," he said.
"Garko's not the fastest guy but I still knew I didn't have
Fernando Cabrera (3-2) pitched one inning for the Indians, who
improved to 22-13 since Aug. 9.
Trailing 4-2 in the ninth with Santana poised to get his first
loss since July 9, the Twins, who stranded 11 runners, rallied to
tie it off Cleveland closer Tom Mastny.
Bartlett singled leading off and Mastny walked Castillo before
Indians manager Eric Wedge came out for a visit. The right-hander
then gave up a single to Nick Punto, loading the bases.
Joe Mauer's groundout to first made it 4-3, and the Indians
chose to intentionally walk Michael Cuddyer to face Morneau, who
hit a drive deep enough to left to score Castillo easily. Mauer
finished the game 0-for-4 and saw his average drop to .344, two
points behind Derek Jeter.
The Twins' comeback saved Santana, who remains unbeaten in 13
starts (9-0) since the All-Star break. Last year's Cy Young winner,
who could be on his way to a second straight award, allowed four
runs -- three earned -- and seven hits in eight innings.
Since 2004, Santana is 31-2 in 43 starts after the break.
"I really don't think about that," he said. "Every game from
now on counts. We can't afford to lose any games."
If not for Minnesota's comeback, Santana losing wouldn't have
been the only surprise of the night. Cleveland starter Fausto
Carmona, who only recently returned to the rotation after a
colossal failure as a closer, was three outs away from his first
win since April 15. He allowed two runs and two hits in five
Dominant since losing to Texas just before the break, Santana
didn't allow a run in his previous two outings, and the
left-hander's scoreless streak was at 15 1-3 innings when Garko
ended it with his two-out homer in the first.
After Santana got two quick outs on long flys, Victor Martinez
singled and Garko followed by pulling a 2-0 pitch that rattled off
the metal railing just above the wall in left for his sixth homer.
2B Joe Inglett, quickly becoming a Cleveland fan favorite,
made a diving catch at second to rob Morneau in the eighth. ...
Morneau's 122 RBI are the third most in Minnesota history,
matching Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew's total in 1961. Killebrew
also holds the club record (145, 1969) and the second most (126,
1962). ... With Cuddyer and Morneau now over 100 RBI, the Twins
have two players with more than 100 in the same season for the
first time since 1996 when Paul Molitor (113) and Marty Cordova
(111) eclipsed the mark.