Roberto Pérez wanted to do something special for Carlos Carrasco when he came to the plate with the game tied in the seventh inning Wednesday night.
Cleveland’s catcher came through with a solo home run to give the Indians the lead in their 9-7 win over the Minnesota Twins.
The Indians used seven relief pitchers after announcing Carrasco, their scheduled starter, will be sidelined indefinitely because of a recently diagnosed blood condition.
Pérez spoke with reporters following the game in front of his locker, which is located next to Carrasco’s in Cleveland’s clubhouse.
“He’s part of our family,” Perez said. “He’s been here for a long time. Of course, this one was for him.”
Carrasco had been feeling lethargic for weeks and was placed on the 10-day injured list. The Indians gave no specifics on Carrasco’s disorder, but said they expect him to return at some point this season.
Cleveland’s comeback win came at the end of a difficult day and a long game that took 3 hours, 26 minutes and was stopped by a rain delay for 1 hour, 43 minutes in the top of the seventh.
Indians manager Terry Francona admitted the victory came at an opportune time.
“It turned a night that was long and challenging into a really fun night,” he said. “We’ve had our challenges thrown at us and we’ll probably have more, but tonight was a fun night to be part of us.”
Jordan Luplow’s two-run homer in the seventh off Blake Parker (0-2) tied the game for Cleveland, which came back from a 5-1 deficit. Pérez homered two batters later.
Francisco Lindor homered in the eighth —his third in two games. Luplow had an RBI double in the sixth while José Ramirez, mired in a season-long slump, drove in three runs.
The Indians, knowing they would need a deep bullpen to get through the game, began the night with 10 relievers. Nick Wittgren (3-0) allowed a run in the seventh while Brad Hand pitched the ninth for his 18th save in 18 chances.
Tyler Clippard making his 10th major league start in his 712th career appearance, allowed three runs in 1 1/3 innings. Tyler Olson, Nick Goody, A.J. Cole and Adam Cimber also pitched for Cleveland.
“It obviously didn’t end the way we wanted,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It was an odd night, kind of a long night where a lot of funky things happened out there during the game.”
The Indians trail the Twins by 9 1/2 games in the AL Central after taking the first two games in this series.
“We’re pretty far behind the Twins,” Francona said. “I get that, but I don’t want our guys coming to the ballpark with their tail between their legs. That doesn’t help anybody.”
Minnesota leads the majors with 114 home runs and displayed its power again. Byron Buxton homered off Olson to cap a four-run second — a blast that landed about a half-dozen rows from the top of the bleachers in left-center and traveled an estimated 454 feet.
Nelson Cruz, who returned Tuesday after missing 19 games with a wrist injury, homered in the third. Jorge Polanco hit a solo homer in the fifth and added an RBI single in the seventh.
Carrasco is the third pitcher who opened the season in Cleveland rotation’s to go on the IL, joining Corey Kluber (broken right arm) and Mike Clevinger (strained back muscle).
Twins starter Martín Pérez lasted 4 2/3 innings and was charged with five runs — two earned.
Indians: Clevinger is scheduled to pitch four or five innings on a rehab assignment for Triple-A Columbus on Thursday.
Parker entered the game in the seventh with a two-run lead, but allowed the two homers and three runs.
“I didn’t have my command of any of my pitches,” said Parker, who had converted all eight of his save chances going into the game. “Left balls right down the middle and getting behind them.”
SWING AND A DRIVE
Since the Indians won the game, Francona was able to find humor in talking about far Buxton’s home run traveled.
“I told Olson if that scoreboard wouldn’t have been there I would have picked up that ball on the way home,” Francona said. “That’s one of the longest home runs…my goodness.”
Twins: RHP José Berríos (7-2, 3.71 ERA) held Cleveland to two hits in 7 2/3 scoreless innings on Opening Day at Target Field in a 2-0 win.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer (4-5, 3.76 ERA) got the loss Friday against the Chicago White Sox after his teammates committed four errors, leading to four unearned runs.
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