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Minnesota at Cleveland

Cleveland's Westbrook wins pitching duel with Minnesota's Santana

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Aaron Boone and Jake Westbrook are off to much better starts than a year ago -- and so are the Cleveland Indians.

Boone had a two-run double and Westbrook outpitched Minnesota ace Johan Santana to lead the Indians to their fifth consecutive victory, 3-2 over the Twins on Sunday.

"You might say I'm having a bit more fun this April," cracked Boone, hitting .344 through six games after grinding through a 9-for-73 (.123) first month of 2005.

Eduardo Perez homered as Cleveland improved to 5-1 for its best start since opening 2002 at 11-1. The Indians have not had a winning April since, including a 9-14 record last year.

"We're six games into the season," cautioned Perez. "But we're getting good pitching, good fielding and guys like Travis Hafner are really hitting well."

Hafner drew a first-inning walk, reaching base safely for his 11th consecutive at-bat. He lined out to left-center leading off the fourth, ending his streak, and finished 0-for-3.

Westbrook (2-0) gave up two hits and one run over 6 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out four. The right-hander didn't earn his second win in 2005 until May 29 after opening 1-9.

"Jake was fantastic," said Indians manager Eric Wedge. "He had that sinker working throughout."

Making his 100th career start, Westbrook retired 14 in a row before walking Jason Kubel with one out in the seventh and being replaced by Guillermo Mota.

Kubel stole second without a glance from Mota and scored one out later on Shannon Stewart's single to make it 3-1.

Bob Wickman gave up Justin Morneau's two-out RBI single in the ninth and then retired Tony Batista on a fly ball to center to pick up his third save.

Santana (0-2) gave up three runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings, raising his ERA to 5.73 and losing his first two decisions for the first time since 2000. He walked three and struck out five.

"Even though they pulled me out, I still felt strong," said Santana, who also admitted that Cleveland's patience at the plate put pressure on him early.

"Those guys are pretty good," he said. "They make you work and go deep into the count."

The Twins are 1-5 for the first time since starting 1-7 in 1994 and have lost six in a row at Jacobs Field.

Perez, signed as a free agent to give the Indians some production against lefty pitchers, hit his second homer with one out in the fourth for a 1-0 lead. His other homer came in his only other start, opening day against Chicago lefty Mark Buehrle.

"He missed his spot with a fastball, but any ball can be hit," Perez said. "Sometimes, you just have to be fortunate. You have to forget about the previous at-bat and go do your best."

Perez had grounded into a force play with the bases loaded on Santana's 36th pitch of the first inning.

"But that was a heck of an at-bat, too," Boone said. "We didn't score, but we got Santana's pitch count up there. You've got to bear down against him or he's going to make you look bad."

Jhonny Peralta opened Cleveland's sixth with a single off the glove of third baseman Batista. The Indians' shortstop is 2-for-19 with 14 strikeouts in his career against Santana.

"He's the best left-hander I've faced," Peralta said. "To get a hit off him made me feel good."

One out later, Peralta went to third on a looping double by Victor Martinez that fell just in front of diving left fielder Stewart.

Right-hander Juan Rincon replaced Santana and walked pinch-hitter Ben Broussard to load the bases. Boone ruined the strategy by slapping a 1-2 pitch to center that fell in front of Torii Hunter for a two-run double.

Notes

  • Indians 2B Ronnie Belliard missed his second consecutive game with a strained calf. His replacement, Ramon Vazquez, went 0-for-7 with five strikeouts in the two games.
  • The Twins avoided being shut out in consecutive games by Cleveland for the first time since May 3-4, 1968, when right-handers Luis Tiant and Steve Hargan did it.
  • Twins DH Rondell White struck out twice and is 2-for-22 (.091) with eight strikeouts this season.
 
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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Indians starter Jake Westbrook works 7 1/3 innings and allows just two hits.  (AP)
Indians starter Jake Westbrook works 7 1/3 innings and allows just two hits. (AP)

Minnesota Twins
Shannon Stewart, LF4011010 .360
Luis Castillo, 2B3000101 .250
Joe Mauer, C4010002 .300
Rondell White, DH3100021 .091
Torii Hunter, CF4000001 .208
Justin Morneau, 1B4011000 .208
    Nick Punto, PR0000000 .167
Tony Batista, 3B4000011 .125
Jason Kubel, RF2100100 .083
Juan Castro, SS3010001 .357
Totals31242247 
Batting
RBI - Shannon Stewart (4), Justin Morneau (5)
2-OUT RBI - Shannon Stewart (1), Justin Morneau (2)
SB - Jason Kubel (1, 2nd base off Mota/Martinez)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Batista-Castillo-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
Johan Santana (L,0-2) 5.1433351 5.73
Juan Rincon 1.2300110 0.00
Jesse Crain 1000030 6.00
IBB - Broussard by Juan Rincon
Pitches-Strikes - Johan Santana 100-71, Juan Rincon 26-17, Jesse Crain 13-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johan Santana 5-6, Juan Rincon 2-1
Batters Faced - Johan Santana 23, Juan Rincon 8, Jesse Crain 3
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF4020000 .379
Jason Michaels, LF4010011 .346
Jhonny Peralta, SS4110022 .231
Travis Hafner, DH3000102 .391
Victor Martinez, C3110110 .375
Eduardo Perez, 1B2111003 .333
   a- Ben Broussard, PH-1B1000110 .300
Aaron Boone, 3B3012110 .348
Ramon Vazquez, 2B3000023 .000
Casey Blake, RF3000012 .400
Totals303734913 
a-was walked intentionally for Perez in the 6th
Batting
2B - Grady Sizemore (3, Santana), Victor Martinez (3, Santana), Aaron Boone (2, Rincon)
HR - Eduardo Perez (2, Santana)
RBI - Eduardo Perez (3), Aaron Boone 2 (6)
2-OUT RBI - Eduardo Perez (1)
Team LOB - 7
Cleveland Indians
Jake Westbrook (W,2-0) 7.1211240 1.98
Guillermo Mota (H,2) 0.2100000 0.00
Bob Wickman (S,3) 1111000 3.00
HBP - R. White (by Bob Wickman)
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 102-59, Guillermo Mota 11-7, Bob Wickman 16-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 12-6, Guillermo Mota 1-1, Bob Wickman 1-2
Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 26, Guillermo Mota 3, Bob Wickman 5
Game Information
Attendance - 23271
Game Time - 2:42
Temperature - 41
Umpires - Home - Wally Bell, First Base - Mark Carlson, Second Base - Larry Young, Third Base - John Hirschbeck