- Associated Press - Thursday, May 8, 2014

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Minnesota Twins have been playing short-handed all week.

It finally caught up to them Wednesday night.

Shortstop Eduardo Escobar, forced to play left field the entire game because Minnesota had only 11 available position players, misjudged a fly ball in the ninth inning that helped the Cleveland Indians send the Twins to a 4-3 loss.

Escobar misplayed a ball hit by Asdrubal Cabrera to lead off the inning. Mike Aviles’ two-out single off Casey Fien (3-1) gave Cleveland the win.

The Twins were playing their third straight game without first baseman Joe Mauer, who is out with lower back spasms. Outfielder Aaron Hicks is on the 7-day disabled list with a concussion and outfielder Oswaldo Arcia is still on the DL with a sore wrist, limiting manager Ron Gardenhire’s options.

Escobar had played one game in the outfield this season, and was making his first start there. He turned the wrong way on Cabrera’s ball and made a last-ditch leaping attempt as it landed on the warning track.

“He just didn’t get to it, I’m sure he shied away from the wall,” Gardenhire said. “He’s not been out there a lot and it was going toward the wall over his head and he got to the warning track and felt that he was a little too close probably.”

“I went after it as hard as I could,” said Escobar, who has started nine games at short and two at third base. “Pretty tough play over there in the corner, obviously wanted to catch it. That last second I felt like I was pretty close, that’s why I gave it a jump.”

After Lonnie Chisenhall’s sacrifice bunt, Yan Gomes grounded out. Aviles hit a hard ground ball on a 1-1 pitch into center field.

Mauer played catch and took swings off a batting tee before the game. Gardenhire doesn’t know when the six-time All-Star will return.

The Twins rallied from a 3-1 deficit with two runs in the seventh, but dropped their second straight game after winning 1-0 in 10 innings on Monday night on Escobar’s home run.

Ricky Nolasco gave up three runs with nine strikeouts in six innings and the bullpen held the Indians until the ninth.

“A good ballgame,” Gardenhire said. “I thought Nolasco threw the ball very well. We had chances, a couple of them, to get a hit. It was a fun ballgame, but unfortunately we lose it.”

Indians starter Danny Salazar, who hit 100 mph on the Progressive Field radar gun several times, took a two-run lead into the seventh, but Minnesota tied the game on pinch-hitter Danny Santana’s RBI single and Brian Dozier’s sacrifice fly.

Salazar retired the first hitter, but Josmil Pinto singled and took third when Escobar doubled to left-center. Bryan Shaw relieved to face Santana, who batted for Pedro Florimon. Shaw had to hit the deck to avoid Santana’s liner up the middle that scored Pinto and put runners at first and third.

Dozier’s fly ball scored Escobar.

Cleveland recorded its first walk-off win of the season after having 11 last season.

“We needed that,” manager Terry Francona said.

Salazar allowed three runs and struck out seven in 6 1-3 innings.

John Axford (1-3), who gave up Escobar’s homer on Monday, retired Sam Fuld on a foul pop with two on to end the ninth.

Michael Brantley had a two-run double in the third and Gomes hit a leadoff homer in the fifth.

Dozier had an RBI double in the third.

NOTES: The Twins selected the contract of RHP Matt Guerrier from Triple-A Rochester and optioned LHP Logan Darnell to the same club. … Hicks is taking live batting practice in Minneapolis and could come off the 7-day disabled list this weekend. … Indians OF Michael Bourn (tight left hamstring) missed his fourth straight game, but said he could return for the final game of the series Thursday. … Twins RHP Kevin Correia (1-3) faces RHP Justin Masterson (1-1) on Thursday.

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