Jun. 25—Eddie Rosario was having a lousy night in his return to Target Field, 0 for 3 with a fielder's choice and an embarrassing out made at second base.
But when the time came for heroics, the Cleveland left fielder delivered.
With the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning, Rosario singled on the first pitch he saw from left-hander Taylor Rogers to break open a tight game in the Indians' 4-1 victory over the Twins on Thursday night.
As soon as his single sneaked between the shortstop and second baseman, Rosario flipped his bat and ran to first with his right shoulder down, a familiar sight for Twins fans. Only this time he was wearing a Cleveland uniform. Austin Hedges and Amed Rosario scored to make it 3-1
Asked if Rosario, who was let go without a tender after last season, had any words for the Twins dugout, Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli said he didn't think so.
"I didn't hear anything," he said. "I know Eddie enjoys being up in spots like that, and takes pride in what he does in those spots. I actually didn't pay any notice to it at all, to be honest."
Bobby Bradley followed with a single — nearly stopped by the Twins' Jorge Polanco at second — that scored Jose Ramirez, who had been walked intentionally to load the bases for Rosario. That made it 4-1.
Rosario's two RBIs gave him 41 this season, three more than any Twins player.
Blake Parker (1-0) earned the victory with a scoreless inning of relief, and James Karnichak pitched the ninth for his ninth save. Jorge Alcala (1-2) left with the bases loaded in the eighth inning and was charged with three runs allowed by Taylor Rogers.
Twins starter Jose Berrios struck out nine and allowed one run over 6.1 innings, dueling Cleveland starter J.C. Mejia to a draw. Mejia, who started the game 1-2 with a 6.11 earned-run average, pitched around a wild pitch and two balks and left with the game tied 1-1 after six innings.
"Jose did another very nice job for us," Baldelli said. "He pitched with all of his pitches tonight, even the super slow changeup that he busts out every once in a while. He looked good, he looked sharp. ... I wish we could have done more for him."
Before his game-winning hit, Rosario was 0 for 3 but reached on a fielder's choice in the sixth inning after Indians manager Terry Francona challenged a double-play call. With two out, Rosario stole second on a strikeout but was tagged out by second baseman Jorge Polanco.
Asked if it felt good to come back with the winning hit, Rosario said, "Yes, sir."
The throw from catcher Ben Rortvedt skipped past shortstop Andrelton Simmons, and Rosario started toward third before slowly walking back to the bag. With Rosario looking toward home plate, Polanco snuck in, took a throw from Simmons and tagged Rosario on the leg before he got his foot back on the bag for the third out.
"I thought he was thinking that the last pitch was ball four, so that's why he was there," Berrios said. "But that last pitch struck him out, and at second base, we still had a chance to make him out. I think that's what happened."
The Twins took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when leadoff hitter Luis Arraez singled to center and, after a strikeout by Josh Donaldson, moved to second when Trevor Larnach drew the first of two walks surrendered by Mejia.
Nelson Cruz popped out to short after being knocked down with a fastball near his head, but a balk — one of two called against Mejia — sent the runners to second and third, and Arraez scored on a wild pitch.
With Larnach at third, Max Kepler struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Indians quickly tied the game in the second. Bobby Bradley drew a leadoff walk and scored from second on No. 9 hitter Austin Hedges' broken-bat single to left. Berrios thought he had fanned Hedges on the previous pitch and started walking off the field after his curveball appeared to catch the inside of the strike zone.
Alcala started the eighth inning but managed only one out, giving up two hits and intentionally walking Ramirez. He left with the bases loaded to create a lefty-lefty matchup for Rogers with Rosario.
"We know Eddie likes being in those spots, but I'm going to be on Rog every time. He's as good a left-hander as you're going to find in baseball and has been for a very long time," Baldelli said. "I think he just missed with a pitch over the middle of the plate, and Eddie put a good swing on it. That happens sometimes."