Indians manager Terry Francona tried his best to give super utility man Mike Aviles some rare playing time in center field .
The veteran skipper also hoped to give All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley a much-deserved night off after participating in last week’s All-Star Game here at Target Field.
Neither worked very well Monday night in the Tribe’s 4-3 loss to the host Twins Monday.
Francona’s good intent was dashed pretty quickly when shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera left the game in the second inning with back spasms. With Cabrera gone, Aviles took over at short and Chris Dickerson, who hit for Cabrera in the third inning, took over in center.
Later with the Twins leading the game 3-2, Francona had Brantley pinch hit for struggling Ryan Raburn and just like that, Brantley doubled and soon scored on rookie catcher Roberto Perez’s RBI single.
But in the bottom of the inning, Josh Willingham hit a solo homer off Tribe reliever Bryan Shaw to put the hostback on top for good, claiming the first game of the three-game series.