Every time the Minnesota Twins needed a jolt of offense on Friday, Luis Arraez provided it. Through a topsy-turvy game that featured four lead changes, Arraez was a consistent force at the plate. He finished 3 for 4 with two triples and a two-run double that plated the game-winning runs in the Twins’ 8-7 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Target Field.
Arraez’s presence was felt immediately. He made a sliding catch up against the wall in left field on leadoff batter Cesar Hernandez’s deep fly. In the bottom of the first inning, Arraez led off with a triple and scored on a Josh Donaldson sacrifice fly that was caught by third baseman Jose Ramirez in foul territory.
In the third inning Arraez tripled once more, driving home Andrelton Simmons, who reached base on a fielder’s choice. A Donaldson single brought home Arraez, and an Alex Kirilloff home run to left-center cleared the bases to put the Twins up 5-3.
Arraez is the first Twin to record two triples in one game since Ehire Adrianza on Aug. 30, 2017. Arraez has recorded a hit in eight of the last nine games.
In another critical spot with the game tied at six with two outs in the sixth inning, Arraez hit a double off the left-center wall that brought home Nick Gordon and Simmons.
In a predetermined bullpen day, left-handed reliever Danny Coulombe got the first start of his seven-year major league career. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said before the game that he hoped Coulombe could stump the Indians’ lefty-heavy lineup early before handing off to Griffin Jax, but two Cleveland home runs in the first inning kept Coulombe’s stint brief. Jax entered a 3-1 game with two outs in the second inning.
Jax was credited with the win, pitching 4⅓ innings and allowing three runs. Two of those runs came on Austin Barnes’ bases-loaded single in the top of the fourth and the third came on an Eddie Rosario home run to right field that briefly put the Indians back in front 6-5.
However, Nelson Cruz tied the game back at six in the bottom of the fifth with a single that brought home Simmons from second base.
Alex Colome and Taylor Rogers eached pitched 1-2-3 innings in the seventh and eighth innings respectively.
Despite giving up a solo home run to Josh Naylor, Hansel Robles survived the ninth inning to record the save. Max Kepler recorded an outfield assist as Bradley Zimmer tried to stretch a single to a double for the second out of the inning.
Cal Quantrill started for the Indians and allowed six runs on six hits in 4⅓ innings. Nick Wittgren, who gave up the Arraez sixth-inning double, was credited with the loss.