CLEVELAND — Miguel Sanó’s grand slam capped a five-run eighth inning and the Minnesota Twins grabbed firm control of the AL Central by beating the Cleveland Indians 9-5, completing a sweep of Saturday’s day-night doubleheader.
The sweep pushed the Twins 5½ games ahead of the Indians in the AL Central going into the final game of the showdown series Sunday.
Sanó’s 415-foot blast on Nick Goody’s first pitch ended up in the bleachers in left-center. The Twins’ dugout erupted when the ball landed and the sellout crowd at Progressive Field went silent.
Eddie Rosario hit a two-run homer in the first while Nelson Cruz added a two-run blast in the sixth, giving the Twins a total of 283 home runs on the season.
The Twins used two bullpen games to complete the sweep. Five pitchers combined to stop Cleveland’s offense 2-0 in the first game.
Four pitchers worked in the second game, with rookie right-hander Brusdar Graterol (1-0) going two scoreless innings for his first major league win.
Friday’s rainout also prompted the Indians to go with their bullpen in the nightcap, and Cleveland led 5-4 going into the eighth.
Jonathan Schoop singled off Adam Cimber to start the inning. Max Kepler hit into a force play, but shortstop Francisco Lindor’s throw to first bounced into Minnesota’s dugout, allowing Kepler to take second base.
Jorge Polanco’s double off Oliver Pérez (2-3) tied the game. Cruz and Eddie Rosario walked to load the bases, bringing Goody in to face Sanó, who returned for the doubleheader after missing four games with a sore back.
Rookie Oscar Mercado and Jordan Luplow homered in the second game as Cleveland built a 5-2 lead.
Rosario homered for Minnesota in the first inning off starter Tyler Clippard in the nightcap, but Cleveland quickly tied it on Carlos Santana’s RBI single and Luplow’s bases-loaded walk.
Cruz’s two-run homer off Carlos Carrasco in the sixth cut the lead to 5-4.
In the first game, Zack Littell (5-0) relieved starter Devin Smeltzer in the fourth and struck out two in two innings.
Taylor Rogers got the final five outs for his 26th save, but had to work out of trouble in the eighth and ninth.
Polanco hit a two-run homer in the second off Mike Clevinger (11-3), who had won 10 consecutive decisions. Clevinger struck out 10 in eight innings, but lost for the first time since June 28.
Twins: RHP Sam Dyson (sore biceps) shut down his throwing session Friday. He hasn’t pitched since Sept. 3.
Indians: C Roberto Pérez remained in the first game after being hit by Tyler Duffey’s pitch in the seventh. The ball deflected off Pérez’s left arm and hit him in the face. He went to first base after being examined by a team trainer. Kevin Plawecki was behind the plate in the second game.
The series wraps up Sunday when RHP José Berríos (12-8, 3.63 ERA) faces RHP Shane Bieber (14-7, 3.17 ERA) in a matchup of All-Stars.