Axford falters in 10th, Twins down Tribe

TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer Published:

CLEVELAND (AP) -- John Axford wanted desperately to erase his mistake. Instead, he made another one.

The Indians' closer gave up a home run to Eduardo Escobar leading off the 10th inning Monday night, giving the Minnesota Twins a 1-0 win over Cleveland.

For Axford, it was his second straight brutal outing, coming a day after he allowed a three-run homer to Chicago's Dayan Vicideo in the ninth inning as the White Sox rallied for a 4-3 win. In that game, Indians catcher George Kottaras became the first player in franchise history to homer in his first two at-bats and Corey Kluber struck out 13.

Axford rendered those noteworthy milestones almost meaningless.

"It's unbelievable," said Axford, who was disappointed to let down his teammates again. "It's my performances the last two days has taken precedence over a great hitting performance by George and two outstanding pitching performances. Hopefully we'll piece it together as a club soon and start picking up some wins."

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.

Axford had hoped for a chance to fix his blunder from Sunday, but the right-hander's low fastball found too much of the plate and Escobar made him pay.

"Bad pitch," Axford said. "It's great to get back out there. It's something I want, to go out there next day, next game and get the job done and erase the slate. Unfortunately, it didn't work out."

Axford wasted a solid outing by Zach McAllister, who battled Minnesota's Kyle Gibson for seven innings and got a no-decision. McAllister blanked the Twins for 62/3 innings and matched a career-high with eight strikeouts.

McAllister said Axford, who signed as a free agent with the Indians in December, shouldn't feel responsible for the losses.

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, and scoring is a huge issue. The Indians have scored three runs or less in 19 of their 32 games.

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