CLEVELAND — Trevor May is annoyed. He said so about nine times in five minutes while chatting with the media Sunday afternoon.
The Twins reliever is heavily active on social media. He hears what people are saying. He sees it.
“The lead’s been cut in half. I’m very into social media and I hear those things a lot. A lot of people thinking they’re saying encouraging words to you, but there’s a little bit of a, ‘Don’t blow it,’ in their tone. And that’s annoying,” May said. “As a competitor, I’m annoyed. And that’s a good thing. It adds a little bit of fuel. We want to beat these guys every single time we play them.”
So when Carlos Santana hammered a May curveball for a tiebreaking home run in the seventh inning, well, that was annoying for May, too. That was the difference in the first-place Twins’ 4-3 loss to the second-place Cleveland Indians on Sunday, July 14, at Progressive Field.
Santana’s homer came just after the Twins had rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh off of Indians all-star Shane Bieber, who had pitched six scoreless innings to begin the game.
“When they go out and get a performance like Bieber had and you’re able to scrape back into that game, that’s one you want to steal,” May said. “And I think that’s what hurts the most. Because if I go out and throw a 1-2-3 inning, the ball is back in our court and they’re throwing with a little more pressure. That’s what I was trying to accomplish today.”
The Twins (58-34) still had a chance to do damage in the eighth and ninth innings, getting the leadoff runner aboard in each.
They left the bases loaded in the seventh inning. After scoring three runs — one on a Marwin Gonzalez single, one on a bases-loaded Jake Cave hit by pitch which had to be challenged by manager Rocco Baldelli and one on a Max Kepler bloop single — both Jorge Polanco and Nelson Cruz struck out to end the threat.
“We continued to give ourselves a chance,” Baldelli said. “We had good at-bats, and we were in the game until the very end. The way we played these three games coming out of the break, I think we have a lot to be happy about. I think that’s the way you want to start the second half.”
Despite the loss, the Twins won the series after grabbing the first two games. The Indians had surged before the all-star break and trimmed Minnesota’s American League Central lead to 5 1/2 games, and they could have pulled close with a series win coming out of the break.
The Twins fell behind right away. Starter Jose Berrios walked two with two outs in the first before surrendering a double to Jose Ramirez. Berrios threw five innings and gave up three runs in one of his shortest outings of the year. He struck out six in the game, with his sixth strikeout the 500th of his career.
“I didn’t feel like my three pitches were 100 percent today, but I kept battling and tried to give my team an opportunity to win the game,” Berrios said.
Instead, the Twins, after playing well throughout the weekend, leave town with a 6 1/2-game lead, slowing a bit of the Indians’ momentum along the way.
“I’ve been here for a while now. It was Detroit when we first got here, then it became Kansas City, and then it was the Indians,” May said. “Now, it’s our turn. We want to be that team that everyone doesn’t like because we’re winning the division all the time. It’s our turn now.”