Travis Hafner became the Indians' latest tormentor of the Twins, with a clutch homer off Joe Nathan and a game-winning sacrifice fly.
The Twins have been tormented over the years by several Cleveland clubbers such as Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome. Now there's Travis Hafner.
Hafner hit two homers, each at least 420 feet, to keep the Indians in the game -- including a two-run homer estimated at 433 feet in the ninth inning off Twins closer Joe Nathan that tied the score at 5.
Hafner then added a sacrifice fly in the 11th that scored Franklin Gutierrez with the lead run in what turned out to be a 7-5 victory over the Twins.
While Hafner destroyed the Twins, the Twins were shuffling catchers out onto the field. During the 10th inning, Chris Heintz was pinch hit for by Mike Redmond. Redmond battled through an 11-pitch at- bat against Indians righthander Rafael Betancourt but aggravated the dislocated left middle finger he injured in July.
That forced Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to use his emergency catcher -- Joe Mauer -- to replace Redmond with a 3-2 count.
Mauer hadn't played since Aug. 25 and his hamstring, but Gardenhire estimated, was only "45 to 50 percent" healthy.
With the potential winning run in Jason Tyner on second, Mauer swung and missed the only pitch he saw to end the at-bat.
"It's the part you don't want to do," Gardenhire said. "As soon as [Mauer] saw Redmond go down, he was ready to go."
Redmond's life as Crash Davis is over for now. He'll have the finger looked at today.
And Gardenhire reiterated his desire to have another catcher -- Jose Morales, perhaps -- called up from the minors for insurance.
Hafner, who has six homers against the Twins this season and 19 against them since 2004, the most against any opponent.
The Twins are now 60-2 when leading after eight innings.
It ruined a night in which Justin Morneau had three hits, including a three-run double in the third that gave the Twins a 4-2 lead.
Righthander Kevin Slowey, just called up from Class AAA Rochester for his second stint with the club this year, looked poised to win for the first time since June 30 as he held Cleveland to two runs over five innings on five hits, no walks and three strikeouts.
It wound up being a disappointing night as they wait for an update on Redmond, one of their toughest and most determined players.
"It felt like my finger fell off," he said. "It felt like it completely pulled off. I never felt anything like that before."
He showed reporters his mangled finger after the game. He'll have an MRI exam on the finger
"I guess there good news," Redmond suggested. "It looks like [Mauer] is ready to play."
|Seattle - WP: R. Elias||10||FINAL|
|LA Angels - LP: N. Maronde||6|
|Dallas||85||4th Qtr 0:28|
|Toronto||1||3rd Prd 10:40|
|Mount St Marys||88||FINAL|
|Miss Valley St||63||FINAL|
|North Dakota St||60|
|Fla Gulf Coast||92|
|East Tenn St||66||FINAL|
|UC Santa Barbara||57||FINAL|
|Cal State Fullerton||42||2nd Half 7:07|
|Long Beach St||48|
|San Diego State||33||2nd Half 8:55|