MINNEAPOLIS -- The race for the American League wild cards is growing incredibly tense during the season's final weekend. But Pedro Hernandez removed most of the tension from Target Field on Friday night.
The Twins' lefthander gave up six runs and recorded only five outs, and the Indians were able to spend the rest of the night watching the scoreboard while going through the motions of a 12-6 victory over the Twins. With the victory, and Tampa Bay's loss in Toronto, Cleveland moved into a tie with the Rays for the two wild-card spots, while Texas, which defeated the Angels, remains one game back with two to play.
The Indians can clinch a postseason berth Saturday with a victory and a Rangers loss.
The Twins couldn't do much to spoil their pennant drive Friday, not after five of the first seven hitters Hernandez faced whacked hits, four of them for extra bases. The Indians added three more runs in the second off Hernandez and Shairon Martis, leaving the announced 24,074 -- the smallest non-April, non-makeup crowd in the stadium this year -- with little to cheer for.
"Just a bad night," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They were all over him right from the get-go."
By the time it was over, the Twins had given up more than 10 runs for the 10th time this season -- something the Twins have done just once all year.
Pedro Florimon homered in the fifth inning, and the Twins added three more runs in the sixth to make it 9-6, but Cleveland kept adding runs against unlucky Liam Hendriks. The Australian righthander became the first Twins pitcher to strike out more than seven hitters in a game this season, racking up eight in 4 1/3 innings of relief. But he gave up five runs, too.
Two of them scored when Ryan Doumit's sliding catch of Mike Aviles' bloop to right bounced out of his glove, and two more scored on Drew Stubbs' two-run homer in the ninth, after the Twins believed Stubbs had not checked his swing on a 2-2 fastball.
"He actually struck the guy out. He just didn't get the check-swing call," Gardenhire said. "But you can't blame the umpires when you play the way we do."
(c)2013 San Mateo County Times (San Mateo, Calif.)
Visit the San Mateo County Times (San Mateo, Calif.) at www.mercurynews.com/san-mateo-county
Distributed by MCT Information Services