Franklin Gutierrez after scoring the winning run.
Rookies Ryan Garko and Franklin Gutierrez led the offensive way as the Indians defeated Minnesota, 5-4, in 10 innings Friday night at Jacobs Field. Gutierrez had three hits and scored the winning run, which was knocked in by Garko, who also hit a two-run homer. And until the Twins ralled for two runs in the ninth inning, it looked like Fausto Carmona was going to beat all-star Johan Santana.
That Carmona (1-9) nearly beat Santana (18-5) was probably confusing enough to make some so-called experts ready to head for the farthest seat in the upper deck to contemplate in solitude that there are no sure things in baseball.
In many ways, down was up and up was down in this strange game that ended on a mighty fielder's choice grounder up the middle by Garko.
"It's probably the best groundout I've hit in my entire life," Garko told The Associated Press after being mobbed by teammates.
It nearly was a rally-killing double play. With the bases loaded and one out, Garko sent a bouncer up the middle that Twins second baseman Luis Castillo snared with a backhand stab. Castillo threw to shortstop Jason Bartlett for one out, but the throw to first was wild. No error can be ruled on the play since a double play cannot be assumed, but it allowed Gutierrez, who had opened the inning with a double, to score.
It was a depressing loss for Minnesota, which came in two games ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the AL wild-card race and one game behind Detroit in the AL Central. The Tigers won, but Chicago lost, so the Twins are now two up and two down in their respective races.
The Indians shocked Santana in the first inning. The lefty, who has not lost since July 9 and is a combined 31-2 over the last three seasons after the all-star break, gave up a two-out single to Victor Martinez and Garko followed with his sixth homer for a 2-0 lead.
Cleveland made it 3-0 in the second on an RBI single by Gutierrez.
Meanwhile, Carmona, back in the rotation after a brutally bad stint as Cleveland's closer in early August, pitched well for three innings. He walked Joe Mauer to start the fourth and Michael Cuddyer reached on an infield hit on a questionable call by the umpire at first base.
The runners advanced on a wild pitch and Justin Morneau followed with an RBI single. Carmona gave up another walk, but got Rondell White to hit into a double play, scoring Cuddyer to make it 3-2.
Gutierrez's RBI double made it 4-2 in the fourth. Andy Marte tried to score from first base on the drive to center, but was thrown out.
The Twins rallied to tie it off closer Tom Mastny in the ninth.
Fernando Cabrera (3-2) pitched a perfect 10th for the win.