Minnesota at Cleveland

Scoreboard
Minnesota (67-65)0000300025132
Cleveland (74-57) «20101002x670

Indians edge Twins, tighten grasp on AL Central lead

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

CLEVELAND -- Watching Joe Borowski work the ninth inning is riveting theater. Unless you're an Indians fan.

"Pretty much everything than can happen has happened," Borowski said following his latest circus-like save.

Borowski worked out of another late mess for Jake Westbrook, rookie Asdrubal Cabrera drove in the go-ahead run and Cleveland extended its lead in the AL Central with a 6-5 win over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.

Coupled with Detroit's 6-3 loss at Kansas City, the Indians moved 3½ games up on the second-place Tigers. It's Cleveland's largest lead since June 5.

Travis Hafner hit a two-run homer off Boof Bonser (6-11) and Grady Sizemore added a solo shot for the Indians, who are 9-3 since Aug. 15 -- the day Cabrera replaced Josh Barfield in the starting lineup.

Borowski came on to protect a three-run lead in the ninth and promptly gave up rookie Brian Buscher's first major league homer. With one out and a runner at first, Jason Bartlett hit a grounder to third that ticked the bag and went through Casey Blake's legs into the corner for a double.

Borowski gave up Torii Hunter's sacrifice fly that brought the Twins within 6-5 but Cleveland's closer froze Justin Morneau with a fastball for a strikeout and his AL-leading 38th save.

"I've come to the realization that statistically I'm going to have to wear it," said Borowski, 2-5 with 5.64 ERA and five blown saves. "But as long as we save it, that's all I care about.

"As long as we win, bottom line, that's all that counts."

Jason Tyner had four hits for the Twins, who had won a season-high five in a row before losing the first two games of the series. Minnesota has fallen 7½ games behind the Indians.

The loss overshadowed three spectacular defensive plays by Minnesota's Torii Hunter, Nick Punto and Jason Tyner. Hunter's catch on the dead run before crashing into the center-field wall in the seventh was the best of the bunch.

"We have to figure out a way to get a win," said manager Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected in the fifth. "Last night was a terrible ballgame. They pounded us (8-3). Tonight we battled and had a chance to win. You can cry over it or do whatever you want, but you've got to keep playing."

Westbrook (5-7) allowed three runs - all in the fifth - and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander, who spent six weeks on the disabled list and began the season 1-6, went 4-1 this month with 1.90 ERA.

Rafael Perez got a big out in the seventh and Rafael Betancourt worked a perfect eighth before turning it over to Borowski, who has gotten the job done more times than not despite some hair-raising moments.

"He got it done and that's the bottom line," manager Eric Wedge said. "It's an end-result job, one of the few in baseball."

After Minnesota rallied to tie it in the fifth, Cabrera's RBI single in the bottom half put Cleveland ahead 4-3.

Kenny Lofton singled and moved up on Bonser's errant pickoff throw. The Twins intentionally walked Sizemore with two outs to face Cabrera, who has sparked the Indians since Barfield was benched.

Cabrera singled to score Lofton, who slid home ahead of Michael Cuddyer's throw from right.

Ryan Garko's RBI single and Jhonny Peralta's sac fly put Cleveland ahead 6-3 in the eighth.

The Twins flashed in the field twice in the sixth.

Tyner made a leaping catch at the wall in left to rob Victor Martinez of extras. Then, second baseman Punto raced across the outfield grass to barehand Garko's big bouncer, and while falling to his back, managed to make a one-hop throw in time to get the slow-footed Indians first baseman.

After his grab in the eighth, Hunter laid on the warning track in a daze after racing back to steal a deep shot by Casey Blake. Hunter appeared to be OK as he left the field, and he had an ice wrap on his right shoulder following the game.

"I banged it up a little bit," Hunter said. "The main thing is I lost my breath. I couldn't get up at first. I was dizzy, but I felt better after a couple of minutes."

After Cabrera reached on a fielder's choice in the first, Hafner connected for his 19th homer and first since Aug. 6. It was his 125th career homer as Cleveland's DH, tying Andre Thornton's club record.

Sizemore made it 3-0 in the third with his 23rd homer.

The Twins rallied for three runs - on five singles - off Westbrook in the fifth, but lost Gardenhire. He got tossed by first-base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt for arguing about a call against Hunter.

Notes

  • Bonser has one win in his last 14 starts.
  • Gardenhire has been tossed from a game 34 times since taking over the Twins in 2002.
  • The sixth-inning Hot Dog Race ended with the Ketchup contestant splattering a young girl who was holding the finish tape. She got up and appeared to be uninjured.
 
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 rookie Asdrubal Cabrera helps the team with a clutch double that drives in the go-ahead run.  (AP)
Indians rookie Asdrubal Cabrera helps the team with a clutch double that drives in the go-ahead run. (AP)

Players of the Game
Minnesota

J. Tyner
AB 5
R 2
H 4
HR 0
RBI 0
Cleveland

A. Cabrera
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Minnesota Twins
Jason Tyner, LF5240011 .300
Jason Bartlett, SS4121112 .281
Torii Hunter, CF3012103 .300
Justin Morneau, 1B5011013 .285
Michael Cuddyer, RF4010001 .277
Jason Kubel, DH4010001 .257
Mike Redmond, C4000002 .285
Brian Buscher, 3B4231000 .276
Nick Punto, 2B3000022 .198
   a- Rondell White, PH1000000 .155
Totals37513525  
a-popped out for Punto in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jason Bartlett (19, Borowski), Michael Cuddyer (24, Westbrook)
HR - Brian Buscher (1, Borowski)
SF - Torii Hunter (4)
RBI - Jason Bartlett (38), Torii Hunter 2 (93), Justin Morneau (95), Brian Buscher (2)
2-OUT RBI - Justin Morneau (34)
SB - Jason Tyner (8, 2nd base off Westbrook/Martinez)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Bartlett-Punto-Morneau
E - Jason Bartlett (21, Misplayed grounder), Boof Bonser (3, Throwing)
Minnesota Twins
Boof Bonser (L,6-11) 7543162 4.72
Carmen Cali 0.1122100 5.28
Pat Neshek 0.2100000 2.49
IBB - Sizemore by Boof Bonser
HBP - Martinez (by Carmen Cali)
Pitches-Strikes - Boof Bonser 99-65, Carmen Cali 14-8, Pat Neshek 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Boof Bonser 6-9, Pat Neshek 1-1
Batters Faced - Boof Bonser 27, Carmen Cali 4, Pat Neshek 3
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF3111100 .279
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B4221001 .302
Travis Hafner, DH3212112 .257
Victor Martinez, C3010010 .304
Ryan Garko, 1B4011001 .303
Jhonny Peralta, SS3001020 .274
Kenny Lofton, LF4110002 .299
Trot Nixon, RF3000011 .256
    Franklin Gutierrez, RF0000000 .264
Casey Blake, 3B3000011 .265
Totals3067626  
Batting
HR - Grady Sizemore (23, Bonser), Travis Hafner (19, Bonser)
SF - Jhonny Peralta (7)
RBI - Grady Sizemore (70), Asdrubal Cabrera (8), Travis Hafner 2 (77), Ryan Garko (48), Jhonny Peralta (65)
2-OUT RBI - Asdrubal Cabrera (6)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Trot Nixon 1
DP - Westbrook-Garko
Cleveland Indians
Jake Westbrook (W,5-7) 6.21033240 4.38
Rafael Perez (H,10) 0.1000000 1.70
Rafael Betancourt (H,25) 1000000 1.43
Joe Borowski (S,38) 1322011 5.64
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 104-68, Rafael Perez 2-2, Rafael Betancourt 16-10, Joe Borowski 18-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 8-6
Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 30, Rafael Perez 1, Rafael Betancourt 3, Joe Borowski 6
Game Information
Attendance - 24784
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Second Base - Sam Holbrook, Third Base - Randy Marsh