The Twins were in second place in the AL Central on the afternoon of April 20 after winning the first game of a doubleheader in Baltimore. The Twins took the nightcap to move to 11-7 and into a tie for first place in the division.
The Twins remained either tied or alone in first place after that — increasing their lead to 11.5 games in early June — until Monday evening. Carlos Santana’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning gave the Indians a 6-5 victory over the Red Sox and a half-game lead over the Twins.
Cleveland, which took three of four games at Target Field over the weekend, improved to 72-47. The Twins, who were off on Monday and begin a two-game series Tuesday at Milwaukee, are 71-47. The Indians pulled even with the Twins in the Central for the first time since April 26 on Friday, when they beat Minnesota, 6-2. The Twins took a one-game lead on Saturday with a 4-1 victory, but Cleveland’s win on Sunday again left the teams tied.
If the script from Cleveland’s victory on Monday sounded familiar to Twins fans, it’s because it should. On Sunday, Cleveland closer Brad Hand blew the save in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Santana delivered a grand slam home run off Twins reliever Taylor Rogers in the top of the 10th to lift the Indians. On Monday, Hand again blew the save, this time in the top of the ninth, but Santana led off the bottom of the inning with a homer off Red Sox reliever Marcus Walden.
Cleveland improved to 43-17 since June 3 and it’s now the Twins who will have to chase the Indians.