Cleveland, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Drew Stubbs delivered the go-ahead homer in the eighth to carry the Cleveland Indians to a crucial 3-1 win over the Minnesota Twins in the finale of a three-game series Sunday at Progressive Field.
Stubbs smacked Jared Burton’s 0-1 pitch to center to put the Indians ahead while Nick Swisher added an RBI single to give the Indians a two-run lead that closer Chris Perez protected with a perfect ninth for his 21st save of the season.
The win put the Indians (71-59) six games back of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central and 1 ½ games behind the Oakland A’s for a wild card spot.
The Indians got the victory despite a combined four errors from Asdrubal Cabrera, Scott Kazmir, Cody Allen and Jason Kipnis.
Kazmir had another quality start, allowing just one run on seven hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in six innings but Joe Smith (5-1) earned the win with a scoreless eighth.
Starter Mike Pelfrey yielded one run on two hits but struggled with his command with six walks and had just three strikeouts in five innings for the Twins, who slipped to 57-72. Burton (2-7) absorbed the loss after giving up two runs in the eighth.
Kipnis put the Indians ahead with an RBI single in the third but Doug Bernier tied the count with a run-scoring bunt single in the fifth.
The Indians now head into a critical nine-game stretch that could go a long way toward determining the team’s chances of locking down a postseason spot.
Following an off-day on Monday, Cleveland will take on a trio of playoff contenders in the Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles.