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Minnesota at Cleveland

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Cleveland «01000001x271

Martinez's sac fly lifts Indians to third consecutive win

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Almost three hours after Bob Wickman squatted to catch the ceremonial first pitch, he threw the last one to silence Minnesota.

Wickman stranded the tying run at third base in the ninth inning and sent the Cleveland Indians to a 2-1 win over the Twins in a peaceful series opener between the bitter AL Central rivals on Monday night.

The Indians, starting a 13-game stretch in which they'll face either Minnesota or first-place Chicago 10 times, have won three in a row and are inching closer to .500.

"This was another big win," Wickman said. "We're all chasing the White Sox. But we need to get to .500 first."

Before the teams renewed their heated rivalry, Wickman went out to catch the first pitch thrown by Joe Ladd, the president of "Wickman's Warriors," the closer's official fan club.

"I'm glad he threw a perfect one," Wickman said. "I was nervous. I'm not too mobile and I was worried because I had all those people behind me getting ready to sing the national anthem."

For one of the few times in the past few seasons, the Twins and Indians stuck to baseball without any brushbacks, beanings or barking.

There was barely a tight pitch or menacing glare between the clubs, who have been at odds the past few years. Before the series started, Major League Baseball warned the teams to behave, sending a letter to both managers to keep their players in line.

"I think it's kind of been overblown," said Indians starter Scott Elarton, proudly wearing his blue "Wickman's Warriors" T-shirt complete with its "In Bob We Trust" insignia. "It's a mutual respect more than anything."

In the eighth, Victor Martinez, in a 1-for-24 slump, broke a 1-all tie by hitting a sacrifice fly to center that scored Jhonny Peralta.

Arthur Rhodes (3-1) pitched one perfect inning, striking out two. Wickman gave up a one-out double that just missed being a homer to Torii Hunter, who advanced on a groundout. After a walk, Wickman induced Michael Cuddyer to ground out for his 13th save in 15 tries.

Peralta opened the eighth with a check-swing single off starter Kyle Lohse (3-3), who felt he made a good pitch to the shortstop.

"It's disappointing that it led to the winning run," Lohse said. "That's the way it goes sometimes."

Grady Sizemore sacrificed and Casey Blake followed with a single, but Peralta was held at third. Gardenhire brought in left-hander J.C. Romero to face Travis Hafner, who came in batting just .167 against lefties but walked.

Martinez fell behind 0-1 before hitting a liner at Hunter, who had to take a few steps back to make the catch and had no chance of throwing out Peralta. It was only the second RBI since May 8 for Martinez, who drove in 108 last season.

Shut out for six innings by Elarton and Scott Sauerbeck, the Twins tied it at 1-1 in the seventh on Cuddyer's two-out RBI double off Rafael Betancourt.

Elarton pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings, allowing four hits. He was lifted after striking out Nick Punto to open the sixth, but understood why manager Eric Wedge pulled him.

"I would have done the same thing," Elarton said. "I had thrown 92 pitches. I told him that."

Lohse gave up two runs and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings, but lost for the first time in five starts.

Aaron Boone's baffling batting slump -- he came in hitting .156 -- was momentarily forgotten in the second when his RBI double gave the Indians a 1-0 lead.

Boone preserved Elarton's lead in the fourth with a diving stop at third that saved at least one run.

Notes

  • The Indians are 6-12 in one-run games.
  • In his last three starts at Jacobs Field, Lohse is 0-3 with a 6.87 ERA.
  • Cuddyer has hit safely in a career-high 12 consecutive games.
  • Indians OF Juan Gonzalez had the start of his rehab assignment at Triple-A Buffalo delayed by another day. Gonzalez, sidelined all season with sore hamstrings, didn't play Monday. He's scheduled to play right field on Tuesday.
  • The Twins are playing the first of seven scheduled four-game series this season.
  • The Indians received encouraging news on OF Coco Crisp, who will miss three months after tearing a ligament in his right thumb sliding last week. He visited a hand specialist in Baltimore to determine whether he needs surgery. "It's a little more favorable than was first indicated," said Wedge, who promised to have more information Tuesday.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Victor Martinez, in a 1-for-24 slump, comes up with the big knock ... well the go-ahead sacrifice fly.  (AP)
Victor Martinez, in a 1-for-24 slump, comes up with the big knock ... well the go-ahead sacrifice fly. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

M. Cuddyer
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
Cleveland

A. Boone
AB 3
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Minnesota Twins
Shannon Stewart, LF4000011 .291
Nick Punto, 2B-SS4010030 .287
Joe Mauer, C3010100 .315
Justin Morneau, 1B4010011 .324
Torii Hunter, CF4020003 .238
Jacque Jones, RF4000003 .280
Lew Ford, DH3110102 .276
Michael Cuddyer, 3B4011002 .281
Juan Castro, SS2010000 .274
   a- Terry Tiffee, PH1000011 .196
    Luis Rivas, 2B0000000 .212
Totals331812613 
a-struck out for Castro in the 7th
Batting
2B - Nick Punto (7, Elarton), Torii Hunter (8, Wickman), Michael Cuddyer (10, Betancourt)
RBI - Michael Cuddyer (15)
2-OUT RBI - Michael Cuddyer (5)
SB - Lew Ford (2, 2nd base off Wickman/Martinez)
CS - Torii Hunter (3, 2nd base by Betancourt/Martinez)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Castro-Punto-Morneau, Cuddyer-Rivas-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
Kyle Lohse (L,3-3) 7.1722210 4.71
J.C. Romero 0.2000100 0.98
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Lohse 99-57, J.C. Romero 12-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Lohse 15-4, J.C. Romero 1-1
Batters Faced - Kyle Lohse 29, J.C. Romero 3
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF3000002 .272
Casey Blake, RF4010000 .211
Travis Hafner, DH3010100 .271
Victor Martinez, C3001001 .191
Ben Broussard, 1B4010002 .270
Ron Belliard, 2B2110100 .280
Jody Gerut, LF2010101 .429
Aaron Boone, 3B3011002 .159
Jhonny Peralta, SS3110012 .260
Totals272723110 
Batting
2B - Aaron Boone (4, Lohse)
SF - Victor Martinez (2)
SH - Grady Sizemore (1)
RBI - Victor Martinez (12), Aaron Boone (14)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Peralta-Belliard-Broussard
E - Casey Blake (3, wild throw)
Cleveland Indians
Scott Elarton 5.1400120 6.17
Scott Sauerbeck (H,3) 0.2000000 3.77
Rafael Betancourt (BS,1) 1311010 1.69
Arthur Rhodes (W,3-1) 1000020 0.87
Bob Wickman (S,13) 1100110 3.31
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Elarton 92-61, Scott Sauerbeck 7-4, Rafael Betancourt 23-16, Arthur Rhodes 18-11, Bob Wickman 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Elarton 7-6, Scott Sauerbeck 1-1, Arthur Rhodes 1-0, Bob Wickman 2-0
Batters Faced - Scott Elarton 20, Scott Sauerbeck 2, Rafael Betancourt 5, Arthur Rhodes 3, Bob Wickman 5
Game Information
Attendance - 13257
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 55
Umpires - Home - Bruce Froemming, First Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Chris Guccione