In the end it worked out, with Twins outfielder Josh Willingham lining a home run in the eighth inning Monday night to propel the Twins to a 4-3 victory over Cleveland and snap their three-game losing streak. The only unfortunate thing was that lefthander Kris Johnson was leaving Target Field and heading back to Class AAA Rochester without a game ball for his first major league win. Johnson worked out of a jam in the fifth inning before leaving with a 3-2 lead and eligible for victory No. 1. With the Twins’ reliable bullpen now activated, Johnson was set up to celebrate. “It does creep into your mind a little,” said Johnson, 29, who made his seventh career appearance and fourth start. The Indians threatened in the seventh inning when Jason Kipnis singled with one out, stole second and went to third on Caleb Thielbar’s throwing error. Thielbar rebounded to strike out Chris Dickerson. Jared Burton came on to strike out Yan Gomes to end the threat. But Michael Brantley hit a pinch-hit double off Casey Fien with one out in the eighth. Roberto Perez then singled up the middle, scoring Brantley with the tying run. The starting pitching? It has been inconsistent. The offense? It routinely leaves runners on base. Not the bullpen, the strongest part of the team. And not Fien, who easily leads the team with 15 holds. “A two-seamer right back over the middle of the plate,” Fien said. “I didn’t even know I threw a two-seamer.” That gave Johnson a no-decision.
Willingham's homer in eighth powers Twins over Cleveland
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Jul 22