Indians closer Chris Perez told manager Terry Francona “I don’t want to cost us games” after nearly blowing a 6-1 lead for Cleveland on Thursday night, the manager shared during his post-game press conference.
With the help of Joe Smith, the Indians barely held on for a 6-5 win over the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. But for the second straight appearance, the former All-Star Perez coughed up several runs in the ninth inning.
Francona was far more non-committal and stoic about Perez’s performance and future as the team’s closer after the game. He applauded the 27-year-old Perez for walking into his office to share that comment. In a rare sign of non-confidence, he said it’s best not to make snap judgments with these decisions five minutes after a tough outing. But he reiterated several times that he was happy the club found a way to pull off the victory, which was what they obviously set out to do.
The Texas Rangers also had a walk-off win on Thursday and the Tampa Bay Rays won, keeping the same order in the American League Wild Card standings. Cleveland has three more games against the Twins this weekend, but perhaps without a clear closer.
[Related: Justin Masterson: Ace to Closer?]