CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – “Just an overwhelming, wonderful, great day.”
Jim Thome hit it right on the head.
The Cleveland Indians all-time leader in homeruns and one of the most popular players in team history capped a special night with a double and homer as the Indians got a little 1995 magic all over again with a 6-5 walk off win over the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field.
Carlos Santana won it in the 9th for the Indians, as he took the first pitch from Twins reliever Matt Capps and punched it over the wall in right center for his 27th homer of the season to send the crowd home happy.
The night though belonged to Thome, as the team celebrated his 600 homerun accomplishment before the game with a lavish ceremony at home plate that included broadcaster Tom Hamilton, former manager Mike Hargrove, and former teammate Carlos Baerga.
Thome then came through with some clutch hits to bring the Indians back not once, but twice, as they fell behind 2-0 and 4-2 before rallying for the win.
The Indians improve to .500 at 78-78 on the season, and have gotten hot near the end of the season, winning six of their last nine. They have now also won six in a row against the Twins.
The Twins tried right off the bat to spoil the night for Thome, setting the stage for a back and forth game with a pair of runs in the first inning.
Chris Parmelee got a one-out single to shallow center with Ben Revere and Trevor Plouffe on second and third. Both came around to score to give Minnesota the 2-0 lead.
Thome got his first hit in the bottom of the first, and it drove in a run after Koskue Fukudome started the game with a single. Thome drove a Carl Pavano pitch to left for a double, scoring Fukudome.
The Tribe tied the game in the 2nd, Lonnie Chisenhall singled to start the inning, and then Matt LaPorta doubled to right center to bring Chisenhall in to tie it at two.
Minnesota put two more runs back up in the 3rd, starting with Parmelee homering to deep right off Indians starter Justin Masterson to make it 3-2. The Twins put more runners on, and then an error by Jason Kipnis on a fielder’s choice allowed Brian Dinkelman to score to make it 4-2.
It was again Thome with a huge hit in the 3rd to tie the game at four. After Kipnis walked and Asdrubal Cabrera flied out, Thome slammed a Pavano pitch 425 feet to center for his 2nd homer since his return for the Tribe to tie the game at four.
LaPorta gave the Tribe a 5-4 lead in the 6th after Chisenhall doubled to start the inning. The Indians first basemen singled to center, and Chisenhall came around to score to put the Indians ahead.
The Twins got the run back in the 7th when Rene Tosoni doubled to right center, it scored Luke Hughes, who had doubled to left to start the frame.
Saturday the teams will play a pair of games, starting with a game at 1:05pm. Game one will feature David Huff (2-6, 4.20) for the Indians against Brian Duensing (9-14, 5.29) for the Twins.
Game two is set for 7:05pm, and will feature the return of Mitch Talbot (2-6, 6.33) for the Indians. The Twins will counter with Scott Diamond (1-5, 4.81)