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February 22, 2024

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Spring Housing Guide

Vizquel plays last game

Omar Vizquel got a warm send-off in possibly his final home game for Cleveland, and the Minnesota Twins reached 90 wins for the third straight season with a 6-2 victory over the Indians on Sunday.

Vizquel, the Indians’ wildly popular shortstop, went 1-for-4 in the team’s home finale — perhaps his last wearing Cleveland’s white jersey.

Carlos Silva (14-8) allowed one run and eight hits in seven innings, improving to 4-0 in his last eight starts. Jacque Jones had two RBIs to help the playoff-bound Twins win for just the second time in six games.

The AL Central champions (90-66) are still trying to clinch home-field advantage in the first round.

Vizquel, a three-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove winner, is expected to become a free agent in November. He has a mutual $5 million option for next season that the Indians are not likely to pick up.

The 37-year-old Vizquel wants to stay in Cleveland and said before the game that he’s willing to accept a one-year deal to remain — and retire — with the Indians.

“But it’s not up to me,” he said.

If Cleveland fans had their way, Vizquel would never leave.

Hundreds lined up before the game to shake hands with Vizquel, who joined his teammates at the turnstiles to welcome them as they arrived at the gates.

Playing in his 747th game at Jacobs Field, Vizquel received a loud ovation each time he came up. He led off the sixth inning with a single but was forced on a double play.

Before stepping into the batter’s box in the eighth for his last at-bat, Vizquel waved to the crowd and then took a deep breath before digging in.

He then grounded out to second, but not before he tried to beat the throw with a headfirst dive into first base, the type of play that has typified his stellar career.

Vizquel took his spot in the field for the ninth, but manager Eric Wedge sent Jhonny Peralta in to replace him. When he reached the dugout, Vizquel tipped his cap to the crowd and patted his heart to acknowledge the fans and the Twins, who applauded Cleveland’s No. 13.

Minnesota scored three runs in the third inning, helped by a ball that rookie center fielder Grady Sizemore lost in the sun.

After a leadoff walk, Henry Blanco hit a ball to medium center that Sizemore settled under but couldn’t locate despite wearing sunglasses. The ball bounced off his glove.

One out later, Jones hit a two-run single, stole second and scored on Justin Morneau’s base hit.

The Twins made it 4-1 in the fourth on Blanco’s sacrifice fly, and they went up 5-1 an inning later on Corey Koskie’s sacrifice fly.

The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the second on Sizemore’s two-out RBI single. Sizemore added an RBI groundout in the ninth and finished with three hits.

Notes: Vizquel has not made an error in his last 52 games. … The Indians went 44-37 at home, their first winning season at the Jake since 2001. … Cleveland drew 1,814,401 to the Jake, surpassing last year’s total but still the second-lowest since 1992. … The teams will close the season against each other next weekend with a three-game series in Minneapolis. … Twins CF Torii Hunter didn’t start for the third straight game as part of manager Ron Gardenhire’s plan to get his players rested for the playoffs. … Indians 2B John McDonald robbed Cristian Guzman of a single with a diving stop in the sixth. McDonald made two other nice stops to take away possible singles.

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