Twins players have said enough goodbyes in recent days to last a whole offseason. They had a lot more fun celebrating Mitch Garver’s walkoff double Monday night.
After seeing Zach Duke and Lance Lynn become the third and fourth players traded since Friday, the Twins were locked in a seesaw battle with Cleveland at Target Field.
Fernando Rodney escaped a ninth-inning jam, and then Garver drove a ball to left-center field, scoring pinch-runner Ehire Adrianza for a 5-4 victory before an announced crowd of 26,256.
The win halted a three-game losing streak and pulled the Twins within eight games of the first-place Indians. Minnesota leads the season series 7-3.
“To bounce back, shoot, we’ve got [nine] more games against these guys,” Garver said. “We’re just going to keep fighting.”
Cleveland had a runner on third base with one out in the ninth and Jose Ramirez at the plate. Ramirez had already hit home runs No. 31 and 32 earlier against Ervin Santana. But Rodney fanned Ramirez with a 97-mph fastball. Then, after a walk to Edwin Encarnacion, Rodney struck out Yonder Alonso to end the top of the inning.
“Sometimes it’s a little tough to watch, as far as how it unfolds,” Molitor said of Rodney. “There’s usually going to be at least one stretch where the command kind of eludes him a little bit, but he seems to like having those moments.”
Molitor pulled Santana after Cleveland caught a break and tied the score 4-4 in the sixth inning. Alonso lined a ball that center fielder Jake Cave gambled on, trying to make a diving catch. The ball bounced for a double, allowing Encarnacion to score from first.
After Santana left, the Twins got some key scoreless relief appearances from Gabriel Moya and Matt Magill, who each inherited two runners apiece.
Miguel Sano, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, walked to start the ninth before Molitor inserted Adrianza to pinch run. Cave’s sacrifice bunt moved Adrianza to second, setting the stage for Garver’s game-winner.
“It’s a really good win to start the series,” Molitor said. “Especially with all the tumultuous things that have been going on here the last three, four days.”
Reed activated from DL
The Twins replaced Duke on the roster by activating Addison Reed from the disabled list after a rehab assignment in Class AAA Rochester.
Reed, who missed 16 games with right triceps tendinitis, walked two batters and struck out one Sunday in his last appearance for Rochester.
“We’ll try to get him some good matchups so we can see where he’s at,” Molitor said of Reed.
• Adalberto Mejia will start Wednesday’s game against Cleveland for the Twins, in place of Lynn.
• Byron Buxton went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts for Rochester on Monday, dropping his average to .215.