CLEVELAND -- Jeremy Sowers has a reputation for being a quick study.
Baseball's hottest-hitting team found out just how swift Saturday night. The rookie left-hander pitched a four-hitter as the Cleveland Indians snapped the Minnesota Twins' eight-game winning streak with an 11-0 victory.
"I'd like to take this game and make it the next 30 for us," Indians pitching coach Carl Willis said after Sowers (2-3) baffled a club that had accumulated 11 or more hits in every game during its winning streak.
That included a 5-2 win over the 23-year-old Sowers on July 16 in which they got 11 in seven innings.
"The guy pitched well and had good command of the strike zone," said Michael Cuddyer, who managed one of Minnesota's four singles. "Last week he threw it right down the middle."
Sowers, Cleveland's first-round draft pick (No. 6 overall) in 2004 out of Vanderbilt, where he was a straight-A student, watched video of that performance and made some changes.
"I stood a little taller," said Sowers, generously listed at 6-foot-1 in the team media guide. "That helped me get a better angle on some pitches. I had good balance and was able to keep the ball down."
Sowers was in complete command. He walked one, struck out four and went to a three-ball count only once, on a third-inning walk to No. 9 hitter Jason Bartlett.
"Each inning up here, I feel more comfortable," Sowers said. "The game is about adjustments and I know there will be tough times. There's already been plenty of bumps in the road, but I had good defense behind me.
"There is a lot of luck involved in this game and I'm grateful for my teammates helping me. A ball falls in here or there and the game takes on a different complexion."
He became the first Indians rookie to pitch a shutout since Billy Traber had a one-hitter against the New York Yankees on July 8, 2003.
Sowers did not allow a runner to reach second base in his fifth start since being called up June 24 from Triple-A Buffalo, where he went 9-1 with a 1.39 ERA.
"I was a little fatigued, because it was only the second time I've seen the ninth inning since I've been in the organization," he said. "It's fun territory."
The performance gave a lift to the sagging Indians, who won for only the third time in nine games since the All-Star break.
"This is the kind of baseball we should be playing," said second baseman Joe Inglett, who went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. "Jeremy showed what a bulldog he can be and the offense gained confidence off one another."
Minnesota, which had 18 hits in a 14-6 win Friday night, lost for only the eighth time in its last 38 games.
Travis Hafner gave Sowers all the runs he needed with a two-run homer, his 29th, in the first inning off Scott Baker (3-6). Grady Sizemore doubled to left, and one out later Hafner hit an 0-1 pitch over the wall in right for a 2-0 lead.
Jason Michaels' RBI single in the fifth made it 3-0 and Cleveland scored three more in the sixth.
Jhonny Peralta doubled with one out and scored on a single by Todd Hollandsworth. Inglett followed with an RBI triple into the right-field corner and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ramon Vazquez.
Baker allowed six runs and nine hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out four and issuing an intentional walk in his second start since being recalled from a six-week stint in the minors.
"We're struggling at the back end of the rotation," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "To do any more damage (in the AL Central race), we've got to be more consistent on the mound."
Inglett had an RBI single, Sizemore a two-run double, Michaels a sacrifice fly and Hafner an RBI double in a five-run eighth off Willie Eyre.
- The Twins also won eight straight from June 11-20 and 11 in a row from June 22-July 3.
- Sizemore went 2-for-2 off Baker, making him 6-for-11 in his career against the right-hander.
- Twins LF Rondell White came in hitting .522 (12-for-23) with 10 RBI over his last six games, but went 1-for-3 and hit into a double play.
- Twins C Joe Mauer came in hitting .478 (11-for-23) during a six-game hitting streak, but was 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
- Twins 2B Luis Castillo had his 15-game hitting streak broken.
- Hafner is 6-for-11 with three homers in his career against Baker.
- Inglett started at second base in place of Ronnie Belliard, sidelined with a strained left hamstring.