MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Greg Allen hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning, then Cleveland reliever Brad Hand escaped a bases-loaded jam and the Indians held off the Minnesota Twins 2-1 on Saturday.
The three-time AL Central champion Indians posted their first win of the season and handed new Twins manager Rocco Baldelli his first loss. The teams combined for just six hits, four by the Indians.
Cleveland’s depleted infield almost proved costly. Byron Buxton led off the Twins ninth with a popup in a stiff wind that shortstop Max Moroff — subbing for injured All-Star Francisco Lindor — let fall for a double. After an intentional walk to Nelson Cruz with two outs, a walk to Eddie Rosario loaded the bases.
Hand retired C.J. Cron on a flyball to end it for a save, completing a combined two-hitter.
Jon Edwards (1-0) retired both batters he faced in the eighth for his first career victory.
It was 1-all when Carlos Santana singled with one out in the ninth and reliever Blake Parker (0-1) threw two wild pitches. Allen’s drive to deep center field scored Allen.
Twins starter Jake Odorizzi tied a career high with 11 strikeouts over six innings. He allowed just one hit and two walks. It was a promising start to the season after Odorizzi posted a career-worst 4.49 ERA last year, his first season with the Twins.
Indians starter Trevor Bauer began his season in style, giving up one run on one hit with a walk and nine strikeouts over seven innings. Bauer finished second in the AL with a 2.21 ERA last year.
Hanley Ramirez put the Indians on top 1-0 with a solo homer in the fourth inning. Ramirez hit a 3-0 pitch deep into the second deck.
The Twins got that run back in the bottom of the frame when Polanco hit a one-out triple and scored when Cruz grounded out.
Indians: Manager Terry Francona said Lindor (sprained left ankle) will visit Dr. Robert Anderson in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Monday. The orthopedic surgeon specializes in working with professional athletes. “They felt having the best look at it makes sense, and I commend them for that,” Francona said.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (17-10, 3.38 in 2018) makes his season debut on Sunday when Cleveland and Minnesota close out their three-game series. He’s coming off a year in which he set a career high with 231 strikeouts in 192 innings pitched.
Twins: RHP Michael Pineda will step onto a major league mound on Sunday for the first time since July 5, 2017, when he was pitching for the Yankees. He underwent Tommy John surgery later that month, signed with the Twins in the offseason, and spent all of 2018 on the disabled list. Pineda pitched a team-high 20 1/3 innings in spring training and struck out 20.
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