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Minnesota at Cleveland

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Minnesota powers past Cleveland with consecutive home runs

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- No amount of adversity seems to discourage the Twins.

One day after Minnesota lost rookie sensation Francisco Liriano for the season, Torii Hunter and Rondell White homered on consecutive pitches in the eighth inning Thursday night to help the surging Twins pull within one game of first place with a 9-4 win over the Cleveland Indians.

"We could have hung our heads, but we kept on truckin' and won," Hunter said after driving in four runs to help the Twins to their sixth victory in seven games.

Minnesota moved two games ahead of the Chicago White Sox in the wild-card race and one game behind the faltering Detroit Tigers in the AL Central. The last time Minnesota was only one game back was the second day of the season, April 5.

"We got a little good news that it was nothing major with Liriano and that probably lifted us a bit," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "The guys were fired up."

General manager Terry Ryan said an MRI showed no structural damage to Liriano's left elbow, but added the Twins will be ultraconservative with the rookie, who went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA. "We have to find out why he's having pain," Ryan said. "We're not going to mess around with his future."

Jesse Crain (4-5) yielded a tying, three-run homer to Andy Marte in the sixth, but worked 1 1/3 innings for the win.

"After spending four months trying to get back into this thing we weren't going to let one inning kill us," right fielder Michael Cuddyer said. "We knew we had a few innings to work our way back, and we did."

Despite going only 3-for-19 with runners in scoring position and stranding a season-high 16 against nine Cleveland pitchers, the Twins improved to 36-36 on the road. Minnesota, with baseball's best home record at 50-24, plays its next nine games on the road.

"We left guys on base, so what?" Hunter said. "We won. That's good news."

Hunter and White each had three of Minnesota's 15 hits. Both spent time on the disabled list earlier this season for the Twins, who also have been without leadoff hitter and left fielder Shannon Stewart since mid-July.

"We won't worry about what we can't control," Gardenhire said. "We're playing good baseball, we're relaxed and having fun. Baseball is supposed to be fun."

Nick Punto put the Twins ahead, 5-4, with a sacrifice fly in the seventh off Jason Davis (3-2).

Hunter hit a two-run homer, his 25th, and White hit the next pitch from Fernando Cabrera to nearly the same spot in the left-field bleachers for his seventh homer and an 8-4 lead.

Cuddyer had a bases-loaded walk for his 100th RBI and Justin Morneau followed with a fielder's choice RBI in the sixth to put the Twins up 4-1.

Cuddyer and Morneau, who has 121 RBI, are the ninth set of Twins in team history to drive in 100 or more runs in the same season and first since Paul Molitor and Marty Cordova did it in 1996.

Minnesota made it 2-1 in the fifth against reliever Brian Sikorski. Morneau singled and scored on a one-out double to left by White, who went 3-for-5.

Victor Martinez's RBI single off Twins starter Boof Bonser put Cleveland ahead 1-0 in the first.

The Twins tied it in the third against Indians starter Cliff Lee. Morneau hit a two-out double and scored on Hunter's sharp single.

Lee threw 102 pitches in only four innings, allowing one run and five hits.

"I was making quality pitches, but they kept fouling them off and the pitches added up," Lee said.

Bonser gave up three runs and five hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out six.

Hunter added an RBI double in the ninth.

Notes

  • Twins C Joe Mauer drew his 20th intentional walk, tying Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew (1969) for second-most in team history. Killebrew had 23 in 1970.
  • Marte has hit .313 (25-for-80) with 16 RBI in his last 23 games.
  • White has batted .310 with seven homers and 18 RBI in his past 32 games.
 
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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Rondell White's homer helps the Twins win and move within one game of first place.  (AP)
Rondell White's homer helps the Twins win and move within one game of first place. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

T. Hunter
AB 6
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 4
Cleveland

A. Marte
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Minnesota Twins
Luis Castillo, 2B5120115 .292
Nick Punto, 3B5121006 .297
Joe Mauer, C4110212 .347
Michael Cuddyer, RF4101122 .274
Justin Morneau, 1B6221024 .325
Torii Hunter, CF6134004 .274
Rondell White, LF5132013 .231
    Lew Ford, LF1000001 .219
Phil Nevin, DH3000213 .243
    Alexi Casilla, PR-DH0000000 .000
Jason Bartlett, SS4120000 .330
Totals4391596830 
Batting
2B - Luis Castillo (21, Lee), Nick Punto (21, A. Brown), Justin Morneau (34, Lee), Torii Hunter (19, Mastny), Rondell White 2 (14, Lee, Sikorski)
HR - Torii Hunter (25, Cabrera), Rondell White (7, Cabrera)
SF - Nick Punto (6)
RBI - Nick Punto (42), Michael Cuddyer (100), Justin Morneau (121), Torii Hunter 4 (81), Rondell White 2 (33)
2-OUT RBI - Torii Hunter 2 (38), Rondell White (17)
SB - Michael Cuddyer (5, 2nd base off Cabrera/Martinez)
Team LOB - 16
Fielding
E - Jason Bartlett (11, )
Minnesota Twins
Boof Bonser 5.2533360 4.52
Jesse Crain (BS,3; W,4-5) 1.1111021 3.82
Juan Rincon 1000110 2.91
Pat Neshek 1000020 2.27
Pitches-Strikes - Boof Bonser 105-68, Jesse Crain 17-13, Juan Rincon 12-7, Pat Neshek 8-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Boof Bonser 6-6, Jesse Crain 1-1, Juan Rincon 2-0
Batters Faced - Boof Bonser 26, Jesse Crain 5, Juan Rincon 4, Pat Neshek 3
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF3100210 .291
Jason Michaels, DH5000022 .271
Victor Martinez, C4021002 .310
Ryan Garko, 1B4000013 .306
Shin-Soo Choo, LF4000033 .278
Casey Blake, RF3110100 .291
Jhonny Peralta, SS3000122 .255
Joe Inglett, 2B4110001 .268
Andy Marte, 3B4123021 .236
Totals3446441114 
Batting
HR - Andy Marte (3, Crain)
RBI - Victor Martinez (83), Andy Marte 3 (18)
2-OUT RBI - Andy Marte 3 (10)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Joe Inglett (3, ), Andy Marte (5, )
Cleveland Indians
Cliff Lee 4511230 4.47
Brian Sikorski 1211010 5.46
Andrew Brown 0.1122300 5.14
Rafael Perez0000000 4.15
Jason Davis (L,3-2) 1.1211020 4.17
Juan Lara 0.1000000 0.00
Fernando Cabrera 0.1233112 5.04
Edward Mujica 0.2100010 3.31
Thomas Mastny 1211000 3.14
IBB - Mauer by Andrew Brown
HBP - Bartlett (by Cliff Lee), Cuddyer (by Fernando Cabrera)
WP - Cliff Lee (2), Jason Davis (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 102-66, Brian Sikorski 27-21, Andrew Brown 24-8, Rafael Perez 2-2, Jason Davis 23-16, Juan Lara 4-4, Fernando Cabrera 13-6, Edward Mujica 6-6, Thomas Mastny 17-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 5-5, Brian Sikorski 1-1, Rafael Perez 1-0, Thomas Mastny 1-2
Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 21, Brian Sikorski 5, Andrew Brown 5, Rafael Perez 1, Jason Davis 6, Juan Lara 1, Fernando Cabrera 5, Edward Mujica 3, Thomas Mastny 5
Game Information
Attendance - 21424
Game Time - 3:38
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Mark Wegner, Second Base - Marvin Hudson, Third Base - Jerry Layne