Twins’ magic number 1 thanks to Doz, Bux 27 Sep 17

CLEVELAND — In a potential American League Division Series preview, the Indians and Twins did not disappoint in their series opener on Tuesday night at Progressive Field. It was the Twins, however, that came out on top, as Brian Dozier’s go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth led Minnesota to an 8-6 victory over Cleveland.

The win for the Twins drops their magic number to clinch an AL Wild Card berth to one with five games remaining. They hold a five-game lead over the Angels, who defeated the White Sox on Tuesday. If the Twins clinch the second Wild Card spot, they are likely to face the Yankees, who clinched home-field advantage in the AL Wild Card Game with their win over the Rays.

Minnesota can clinch its AL Wild Card berth on Wednesday with either a win over Cleveland or an Angels loss.

Dozier’s shot — No. 33 on the season for the second baseman — came against Indians reliever Bryan Shaw. Per Statcast™, the homer had an exit velocity of 99 mph and traveled an estimated 376 feet to right.

As Dozier rounded first, he raised his right arm skyward before pumping his fist repeatedly in celebration. It also allowed him to reach 100 runs scored in four consecutive seasons.

“The job there was to try to get the ball in the air and hopefully it splits the gap, but the last result is what happened when the ball snuck over the fence,” Dozier said. “There was a lot of emotion running through there. The game was ours, in my opinion. I was pretty pumped up.”

“When a guy hits a 97-mph cutter down for a home run to right, you kind of tip your hat,” Indians manager Terry Francona said of Dozier’s home run.

The Twins scored all of their other runs against Indians starter Josh Tomlin, who was credited with a no-decision after allowing eight hits and striking out three in 3 2/3 innings.

“Uncharacteristically, [Tomlin] wasn’t commanding like he can,” Francona said. “He threw some pitches just in the wrong area, where he wasn’t trying to. And then after that, I thought he was having a harder time putting guys away. He was getting ahead, he just couldn’t put them away.”

Eddie Rosario went 4-for-5 and finished with three RBIs, including his 27th home run of the season. Jorge Polanco added an RBI groundout, and Byron Buxton connected for an RBI single in the 9th.

The Indians’ loss is only their third in their last 32 games. Their lead over the Astros for the top spot in the AL is now one game following Houston’s win over Texas.

Twins starter Bartolo Colon left the game after the first inning due to an illness, forcing the Twins to use 10 pitchers, a club record for a nine-inning contest. Colon allowed two runs on three hits with one strikeout in the first inning. He has a 9.64 ERA in five September starts, making his addition to a potential postseason roster unlikely.

Indians designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion finished with three hits and four RBIs, including his 38th home run. Francisco Lindor added a sacrifice fly and Jay Bruce drove in a run with an RBI single.