Indians closer John Axford hit for second straight late-inning loss

TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer Published:

By Tom Withers | AP

CLEVELAND -- Eduardo Escobar homered leading off the 10th inning against Cleveland closer John Axford, giving the Minnesota Twins a 1-0 win over the Indians on Monday night.

Escobar, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, connected on a 1-0 pitch from Axford (0-3), driving it over the wall in right for his first homer since June 20 and fourth of his career in 344 at-bats.

It was the second straight loss for Axford, who gave up a three-run homer in the ninth to Chicago's Dayan Viciedo on Sunday as the White Sox rallied for a 4-3 win.

Caleb Thielbar (2-0) pitched a perfect ninth and Glen Perkins struck out two in the 10th for his eighth save.

The Indians, who only got two runners to second base, had been the only team in the majors not to play in an extra-inning game. Cleveland has dropped eight of 10.

Both teams got strong efforts from their starting pitchers.

Minnesota's Kyle Gibson allowed only two hits in seven scoreless innings, and Cleveland's Zach McAllister gave up five hits while blanking the Twins over 62⁄3 shutout innings.

The Twins played without first baseman Joe Mauer, who is day-to-day with lower back spasms.

Gibson has been blessed with an abundance of runs all season. The Twins came in averaging 7.14 runs in his first five starts, but they couldn't push one across against McAllister, who was pitching on regular rest after going on three days' last week in Los Angeles.

McAllister worked out of a jam in the sixth, stranding a runner at third to keep it tied 0-0.

Minnesota's Sam Fuld doubled down the left-field line with one out and then easily stole third when he got a great jump off second against an unsuspecting McAllister. The right-hander, though, buckled down and struck out both Trevor Plouffe and Chris Colabello looking to end the threat.

McAllister punctuated the whiffs by pumping his fist as he walked to the dugout.

He was lifted with two outs in the seventh and tied his career-high with eight strikeouts, a day after Corey Kluber's 13-strikeout performance against the White Sox.

Gibson and second baseman Brian Dozier combined on a sparkling defensive play in the fourth.

Michael Brantley hit a grounder toward right that Dozier was able to stop with a dive before spinning in one motion and throwing toward first. With first baseman Chris Colabello out of position, Gibson alertly covered and snagged Dozier's throw on one hop before sliding into the bag ahead of Brantley.

Gibson walked Carlos Santana, who stole second. But Gibson kept him there by retiring Lonnie Chisenhall and Asdrubal Cabrera on flies to left.

Giambi sent to DL

CLEVELAND -- The Indians have placed designated hitter Jason Giambi on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right calf muscle.

Giambi was removed from Saturday night's game against the Chicago White Sox after grounding into a double play in the fourth inning. Giambi began the season on the disabled list after breaking a rib during training camp and the 43-year-old is 0-for-10 this season.

Before Monday's game against Minnesota, the Indians also activated catcher Yan Gomes from the paternity leave list. He's in the starting lineup.

Center fielder Michael Bourn is missing his second game in a row with a tight hamstring. The Indians are taking a cautious approach with Bourn, who underwent surgery on the hamstring in October and missed time earlier this season.

Indians manager Terry Francona said the team's medical staff is hoping Bourn is only dealing with some scar tissue.

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