Cleveland at Minnesota

Scoreboard
Cleveland (79-58) «111010100590
Minnesota (69-69)000000000061

Sabathia earns 16th win, Indians shut out Twins

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

MINNEAPOLIS -- If the Cleveland Indians avoid a colossal collapse and finish with the AL Central title at the end of this month, they can count their mastery of Johan Santana and the Minnesota Twins as one of the reasons for the success.

C.C. Sabathia threw eight shutout innings, and the Indians topped Santana and the Twins yet once more with a 5-0 victory on Monday that extended their lead over the defending division champs to 10½ games.

Cleveland is 12-4 against Minnesota and 5-0 against the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner this year.

"He's a great pitcher, one of the best in the game," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "Fortunately for us, we had our guy out there who is also one of the best in the game."

The last time a Twins pitcher went 0-5 in one season against the same opponent was 1974, when Joe Decker lost five straight to the Oakland Athletics. Ryan Garko homered, and each of the three batters walked by the left-hander scored. Santana (14-11) gave up six hits and four runs in six innings, and he struck out three.

"It's never a fun at-bat," Garko said. "When we see the schedule coming up we all kind of roll our eyes and say, 'Here he comes again.' I think, though, the more you see a pitcher -- no matter how good his stuff is -- the more ready you are to face him."

Sabathia (16-7) bested Santana for the second time in a week. He gave up six hits and one walk while striking out six in his ninth straight start with two runs allowed or fewer. Sabathia is 4-1 with a 1.51 ERA against the Twins this year.

"I don't have to face him. The guys in the lineup do," Sabathia said. "They're doing a great job, and I just go out and try to focus on their lineup."

That lineup hasn't provided much resistance at all. In six starts against Cleveland, Santana has received just eight runs of support.

"Like I always say, 'It's not just about one guy or one pitcher or one player,"' Santana said. "It takes a whole team to win a game. That wasn't the case today, and that's why we lost the game."

Minnesota was as many as 12½ games behind the Detroit Tigers last season before rebounding to win the division, but a year ago on this date the Twins had already cut the lead to five games.

They're not playing nearly as well as last season, either, and that includes Santana. He is clearly still one of baseball's most dominant pitchers, but the Indians have not been intimidated one bit.

Manager Ron Gardenhire was visibly frustrated, though much more concerned by his team's lack of offensive life and flawed fundamentals than the disappearance of Santana's invincibility.

"He's gone out and given us a chance to win every stinking baseball game," Gardenhire said.

Cleveland had at least two runners in each of the first three innings, scoring once in each of those frames. Travis Hafner hit a hard chopper over the mound with two on and no outs in the first that Santana snared to start what would have been an easy double play.

Shortstop Jason Bartlett dropped the ball, though, for his 24th error to load the bases. Victor Martinez hit a sacrifice fly later in the inning.

Franklin Gutierrez hit a sacrifice fly in the third, after Bartlett mistakenly cut off a throw from right fielder Michael Cuddyer that had a chance to get Martinez advancing to third base.

Alexi Casilla had a career-high four hits, but he was thrown out trying to go from second to third on a sharp grounder to shortstop in the first inning.

With one no-decision, Santana posted a 4.38 ERA in 39 innings over his six starts against the division leaders this year. This is the first time in his career he's lost more than twice to the same team.

From 2003 to 2006, Santana posted astounding statistics after the All-Star break: 40 wins, 4 losses and a 2.07 ERA in 59 starts. In the second half this year, he is 4-5 with a 3.82 ERA.

That sums up this disappointing season for Minnesota.

"We're the champions still from last year, and we're not playing like it. That's the bottom line," Santana said, adding some credit for Cleveland: "They're comfortable. They have a lot of confidence, and that's how you win games. If you look around, we're not half that."

Notes

  • Ben Francisco hit an RBI double in the second inning, and Hafner had one himself against Matt Guerrier in the seventh. Rafael Perez pitched the ninth for Cleveland to complete the six-hitter.
  • The Indians are in a stretch of 23 games in 23 days. They started a 10-game road trip on Monday.
  • Nick Blackburn made his major league debut for Minnesota by pitching a scoreless ninth.
 
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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Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia allows two runs or fewer for his ninth straight start.  (AP)
Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia allows two runs or fewer for his ninth straight start. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

R. Garko
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Cleveland

C. Sabathia
IP 8.0
H 6
ER 0
BB 1
K 6
 

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Cleveland Indians
Kenny Lofton, CF-LF4120101 .301
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS-2B4110113 .301
Travis Hafner, DH5011000 .255
Victor Martinez, C2101111 .303
Ryan Garko, 1B4121003 .299
Franklin Gutierrez, LF-RF3001002 .275
Chris Gomez, 2B3010011 .315
    Grady Sizemore, PR-CF1010000 .277
Casey Blake, 3B3100112 .263
Ben Francisco, RF3011001 .277
    Jhonny Peralta, SS1000001 .271
Totals3359544  
Batting
2B - Travis Hafner (19, Guerrier), Grady Sizemore (29, Rincon), Ben Francisco (4, Santana)
HR - Ryan Garko (15, Santana)
SF - Victor Martinez (11), Franklin Gutierrez (2)
RBI - Travis Hafner (80), Victor Martinez (97), Ryan Garko (51), Franklin Gutierrez (27), Ben Francisco (8)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Garko (17)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - A. Cabrera-Gomez-Garko
Cleveland Indians
C.C. Sabathia (W,16-7) 8600160 3.24
Rafael Perez 1000120 1.61
Pitches-Strikes - C.C. Sabathia 100-70, Rafael Perez 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C.C. Sabathia 11-6, Rafael Perez 1-0
Batters Faced - C.C. Sabathia 30, Rafael Perez 4
Minnesota Twins
Alexi Casilla, 2B4040000 .250
Jason Bartlett, SS4000013 .275
Torii Hunter, CF4000002 .291
Justin Morneau, 1B2010200 .279
Michael Cuddyer, RF4000024 .277
Mike Redmond, C4010000 .295
Rondell White, DH4000022 .148
Jason Tyner, LF3000010 .290
Nick Punto, 3B3000020 .198
Totals3206028  
Batting
2B - Alexi Casilla (5, Sabathia)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Punto-Casilla-Morneau, Bartlett-Casilla-Morneau
E - Jason Bartlett (24, Missed catch of throw)
Minnesota Twins
Johan Santana (L,14-11) 6644331 3.15
Matt Guerrier 1111110 2.25
Juan Rincon 1100000 5.58
Nick Blackburn 1100000 0.00
Pitches-Strikes - Johan Santana 105-73, Matt Guerrier 26-15, Juan Rincon 16-9, Nick Blackburn 6-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johan Santana 5-10, Nick Blackburn 1-1
Batters Faced - Johan Santana 27, Matt Guerrier 5, Juan Rincon 4, Nick Blackburn 3
Game Information
Attendance - 24105
Game Time - 2:40
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - James Hoye, Third Base - Mark Carlson