Shin-Soo Choo hit the go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning to back Jeanmar Gomez's seven superb innings and lift the Cleveland Indians to a 5-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.
Choo's base hit off Twins closer Matt Capps (0-2) scored pinch-runner Lou Marson from second base, bailing out an Indians bullpen that squandered a 4-1 lead in the eighth inning.
Gomez allowed one unearned run on three hits with three strikeouts and two walks. But Vinnie Pestano gave up an RBI-double to Josh Willingham in the eighth and Nick Hagadone served up a two-run homer to Ryan Doumit to tie the game 4-4.
Chris Perez pitched the ninth for his AL-leading 12th save in 13 chances.
Casey Kotchman had two hits, including a two-run homer, and Joe Smith (3-1) picked up the win for the Indians.
The Twins managed only five hits and Capps allowed a run for the first time in six outings.
The 24-year-old Gomez got off to a dazzling start to the season with the first-place Indians, going 2-1 with a 2.82 ERA in his first five outings. The first two of those came in relief for the team's No. 5 starter, thanks to a rainout, and he pitched well through his first four starts.
But the White Sox roughed up Gomez his last time out, tagging him for eight runs in 6 2-3 innings. The right-hander was able to stabilize himself on Monday night to put the Indians in position to end a three-game losing streak — their longest of the season.
Darin Mastroianni scored on a throwing error from catcher Carlos Santana to put the Twins up 1-0 in the third, but that was all they could muster against Gomez, who wiggled out of another jam in the fifth.
The Twins had runners on second and third and one out, but Gomez got Brian Dozier to ground out to first and Mauer on a grounder to second, drawing boos from the home crowd.
Santana and Travis Hafner had RBIs in the fourth before Kotchman smashed his third homer of the year well into the seats in right field in the fifth for a 4-1 lead.
Carl Pavano hasn't been able to recapture the velocity on his fastball all season long, and it was more of the same against the Indians. He hit 88 mph on the Target Field radar gun a couple of times, but mostly hovered around 86.
The 36-year-old recently had an MRI on his right shoulder that revealed some inflammation, but no serious damage. Pavano said he planned to have a cortisone shot to try to help with the discomfort.
He was relieved in the seventh by Francisco Liriano, the lefty's first appearance out of the bullpen since being demoted from the starting rotation last week. Liriano went 0-5 with a 9.45 ERA in his first six starts. Liriano pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. He walked the bases loaded in the eighth before fanning Michael Brantley.
NOTES: Indians 3B Jack Hannahan did not play because of a sore back. ... Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said INF Alexi Casilla is the team's utility player after the shuffle that brought Dozier up from Triple-A and moved Jamey Carroll to 2B. Gardenhire planned to play Casilla on Tuesday. ... It was Liriano's first relief appearance since Sept. 24 when he gave up five earned runs in 1-3 of an inning and took the loss against the Indians. ... RHP Jason Marquis (2-2, 6.26 ERA) will pitch for the Twins on Tuesday against Cleveland RHP Derek Lowe (5-1, 2.47). The 38-year-old Lowe is 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA in 25 2-3 innings over his last four starts.