MINNEAPOLIS -- For the second time in four games, the Indians called on late-inning thunder to rally from a large deficit.
Then the Tribe relied on small ball to seal the win.
After singles by Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis to start the 12th, Carlos Santana moved Swisher to third with a flyout to right, then Michael Brantley sent Swisher home with the winning run on a sacrifice fly to center, handing the Indians a 9-8 win over the Twins on Wednesday at Target Field.
"[The win is] nice, because we have a day off tomorrow," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Anytime it's a travel day, you'd like to leave on a good note. Other than that, you turn the page and try to get our bullpen guys as much rest as you can."
Trailing 7-3 entering the eighth, the Tribe pushed across four runs to tie the Twins, capped by Jason Giambi's three-run blast to right field. Then Santana led off the 10th looking to seal the deal on Cleveland's comeback. His only hit of the series landed in Cleveland's bullpen, giving the Indians an 8-7 lead.
"G's was obviously a huge one," Francona said. "We pecked away and worked our way back into the game, then they scored the two and kind of spread it out -- G, with just a huge hit."
"I threw a cutter. I left up and over the plate right into his swing," Twins reliever Casey Fien said. "He's a dead-pull hitter. I missed my spot. I'm a strike-thrower, but it wasn't a quality strike."
When Santana took Glen Perkins deep, it marked the third time in Santana's career that he's homered off Minnesota's closer in eight at-bats.
"I see him a lot in the division," Santana said. "He's a good pitcher. I tried to make a good approach on him."
Twins catcher Joe Mauer rained on Cleveland's comeback parade in the bottom of the 10th, when he belted a game-tying opposite-field homer off Cleveland closer Chris Perez. It was Mauer's fifth hit and fourth RBI on the day.
"I was hoping he'd be too tired to come to the plate [in the bottom of the 12th]," Francona joked. "That's a pretty good day, especially when you take into consideration he's catching. That's pretty impressive."
Indians starter Carlos Carrasco's outing could've gone a long way to providing clarity regarding his role moving forward. Instead, it left more questions than answers.
Making his first start since July 6, Carrasco got touched up for two runs in each of the first two innings. The right-hander went fewer than five innings for the fifth time in seven starts this season.
Carrasco did his best to keep the Tribe in the game after the rough beginning. He put up scoreless frames in the third and fourth, and after surrendering singles to Mauer and Justin Morneau to start the fifth, Carrasco fanned Josh Willingham before relinquishing the mound to Rich Hill with lefty Oswaldo Arcia coming up.
Hill retired Arcia and Trevor Plouffe to end the threat, but immediately got into trouble in the sixth after the Tribe had pulled to within a run in the top of the inning. Hill surrendered a one-out single to Clete Thomas, plunked Pedro Florimon and walked Brian Dozier to load the bases. Mauer then drove in his second and third runs of the game with a single up the middle to give Minnesota some breathing room.
"[Carrasco's] stuff is always good," Francona said. "Consistently from start to start, he holds his stuff very well. He just makes too many mistakes. A lot of times, you can't get away with one mistake to good hitters. There's some periods where he makes one or two or three during an at-bat, and he's paying for it."
Twins starter Kyle Gibson was only slightly more effective than Carrasco. The Indians had scoring opportunities, but couldn't break the rookie for a big inning, settling for a two-run single by Mike Aviles in the fourth and an RBI single from Brantley in the sixth.
Kerry Walls is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.