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Cleveland at Minnesota

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Cleveland (80-58) «110001002027121
Minnesota (69-70)013100000005131

Hafner hits 2 HRs, including tying shot in 9th, as Indians win in 11

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Travis Hafner personified the designated hitter Tuesday night.

Hafner hit two home runs and the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the 11th inning, leading the Cleveland Indians past the Minnesota Twins 7-5.

Franklin Gutierrez led off the inning with a walk from Julio DePaula (0-1). After a sacrifice bunt by Casey Blake and an intentional walk to Grady Sizemore, Asdrubal Cabrera hit an infield single off the glove of a diving Alexi Casilla to load the bases.

Hafner then hit a ball almost to the warning track in center field for the go-ahead run, and Victor Martinez added a run-scoring ground-rule double to make it 7-5.

"Those two guys in the middle, you felt their presence out there today," said Cleveland manager Eric Wedge. Hafner and Martinez were a combined 4-for-9.

Rafael Betancourt (4-0) pitched two scoreless innings to get the win, and Joe Borowski worked a perfect 11th inning for his 40th save in 46 chances.

Hafner hit a two-run shot off Minnesota closer Joe Nathan to tie the game at 5 with two outs in the ninth inning, helping the Indians win for the 10th time in 11 games and increase their lead over Detroit in the AL Central to a season-high seven games.

"We've got a good group of guys here and we fight until the last out," said Hafner, whose last five home runs have come against Minnesota. "We've had some good come-from-behind wins this year. It seems we're playing pretty well right now."

Cleveland has beaten Minnesota six straight times, and is 13-4 against the defending division champions this year. The rapidly fading Twins, 2-7 in their last nine, are now 11½ games back in the division.

Minnesota's Kevin Slowey gave up one earned run and five hits, striking out three in five innings. It was his first start after nearly two months at Triple-A Rochester, where his ERA was 1.93 in his last 10 starts.

"I think you saw more breaking balls, changeups and sliders. He got the ball down in the zone," said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire.

Four Minnesota relievers limited Cleveland to one run in three innings, before Nathan gave up a pair of runs in the ninth.

Justin Morneau, in a 2-for-16 slump entering the game, hit a three-run double in the third to deep center field off the glove of Sizemore for a 4-2 lead.

It was one of three extra-base hits allowed by rookie Aaron Laffey, who allowed five runs and six hits in four innings, the shortest outing of his five career starts.

"It was one of those days where every pitch I threw was the wrong one," he said.

Luis Rodriguez had his first three-hit game of the year for Minnesota. Morneau also had three hits.

Slowey continued to get strong run support from his teammates, who hit just .211 in the first five games of the homestand and scored 11 runs. Slowey entered the game getting an average of 9.49 runs in support.

Early on it looked like he would need that again.

Hafner hit a first-inning homer almost 10 rows into the upper deck in right field. The 424-foot shot gave him 126 as a Cleveland designated hitter, passing Andre Thornton for the most in club history.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for him," Hafner said. "He's a great guy and one of the greatest Indians players of all-time."

Kenny Lofton tripled with one out in the second and scored on a slow roller to third that Rodriguez bobbled for an error. But an RBI double by Jason Kubel got Minnesota within 2-1, before Morneau's double.

Rodriguez had an RBI single in the fourth for the Twins, and Lofton had an RBI double off Matt Guerrier in the sixth to make it 5-3.

Cleveland loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but Ryan Garko flew out to right field.

Minnesota had a runner at second base in the 10th, but Joe Mauer, taking over for Mike Redmond with a 3-2 count, struck out swinging. Mauer, who had been out since Aug. 25 with a strained left hamstring, did some light jogging before the game but doesn't expect to be ready to play until this weekend at the earliest.

On the 10th pitch of his at-bat, Redmond, pinch-hitting for starting catcher Chris Heintz, fouled a pitch straight back and fell to the ground holding an already injured left finger. Gardenhire said an MRI would be performed on the finger Wednesday.

"I couldn't swing," Redmond said. "It felt like my finger fell off. I've never felt anything like that before."

Notes

  • Hafner has 13 career multihomer games. His last was Aug. 30, 2006 against Toronto.
  • Hafner's last home run against another team was July 20 vs. Texas.
  • Cleveland is 15-4 since Aug. 15.
  • Slowey, who lowered his ERA from 5.84 to 5.36, has allowed 14 homers in eight starts, including 12 in his last six.
  • Minnesota CF Torii Hunter is hitless in his last 14 at-bats. He is 3-for-25 on the homestand.
 
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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Joe Nathan watches as Travis Hafner ties the game with a two-out, tying two-run shot in the ninth.  (AP)
Joe Nathan watches as Travis Hafner ties the game with a two-out, tying two-run shot in the ninth. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

T. Hafner
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 4
Minnesota

J. Morneau
AB 5
R 0
H 3
HR 0
RBI 3
 
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF5100112 .274
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B6130001 .316
Travis Hafner, DH4224111 .257
Victor Martinez, C5021010 .304
Ryan Garko, 1B6010016 .297
Jhonny Peralta, SS4100121 .268
Kenny Lofton, LF5121001 .302
Franklin Gutierrez, RF4100102 .269
Casey Blake, 3B4020001 .265
Totals43712646  
Batting
2B - Asdrubal Cabrera (5, Nathan), Victor Martinez (36, DePaula), Kenny Lofton (23, Guerrier)
3B - Kenny Lofton (4, Slowey)
HR - Travis Hafner 2 (21, Slowey, Nathan)
SF - Travis Hafner (5)
SH - Casey Blake (4)
RBI - Travis Hafner 4 (84), Victor Martinez (98), Kenny Lofton (32)
2-OUT RBI - Travis Hafner 3 (28), Victor Martinez (38), Kenny Lofton (17)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Franklin Gutierrez 1, Grady Sizemore 1
DP - Mastny-Peralta-Garko
E - Casey Blake (13, Throwing)
Cleveland Indians
Aaron Laffey 4655110 5.93
Thomas Mastny 1.1400100 4.47
Jensen Lewis 2.2000110 2.84
Rafael Betancourt (W,4-0) 2200110 1.48
Joe Borowski (S,40) 1100010 5.50
IBB - Kubel by Rafael Betancourt
HBP - Bartlett (by Aaron Laffey)
Pitches-Strikes - Aaron Laffey 67-40, Thomas Mastny 26-17, Jensen Lewis 36-23, Rafael Betancourt 33-20, Joe Borowski 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Aaron Laffey 7-3, Thomas Mastny 3-0, Jensen Lewis 2-5, Rafael Betancourt 2-2, Joe Borowski 1-1
Batters Faced - Aaron Laffey 19, Thomas Mastny 8, Jensen Lewis 9, Rafael Betancourt 8, Joe Borowski 4
Minnesota Twins
Alexi Casilla, 2B4000013 .244
   a- Brian Buscher, PH1000000 .235
Jason Bartlett, SS4110102 .275
Torii Hunter, CF5100102 .288
Justin Morneau, 1B5033000 .282
Michael Cuddyer, RF5020001 .278
Rondell White, LF3100103 .143
    Jason Tyner, PR-LF1010000 .293
Jason Kubel, DH4121111 .264
Chris Heintz, C4010003 .233
   b- Mike Redmond, PH1000012 .294
   c- Joe Mauer, PH-C0000000 .294
Luis Rodriguez, 3B4131001 .220
    Nick Punto, 3B1000010 .197
Totals42513544  
a-flied out for Casilla in the 11th
b-struck out for Heintz in the 10th
c-announced for Redmond in the 10th
Batting
2B - Justin Morneau (29, Laffey), Jason Tyner (13, Betancourt), Jason Kubel 2 (24, Laffey, Laffey)
SH - Alexi Casilla (5)
RBI - Justin Morneau 3 (99), Jason Kubel (53), Luis Rodriguez (10)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Kubel (15), Luis Rodriguez (5)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Michael Cuddyer 1
DP - Cuddyer-Bartlett
E - Luis Rodriguez (4, Misplayed grounder)
Minnesota Twins
Kevin Slowey 5521031 5.36
Matt Guerrier (H,10) 1111100 2.34
Juan Rincon (H,11) 0.2200000 5.51
Carmen Cali0000100 4.34
Pat Neshek (H,14) 1.1000010 2.77
Joe Nathan (BS,3) 2222021 1.94
Julio DePaula (L,0-1) 1222200 7.11
IBB - Sizemore by Julio DePaula
HBP - Martinez (by Carmen Cali)
Pitches-Strikes - Kevin Slowey 89-58, Matt Guerrier 24-13, Juan Rincon 6-5, Carmen Cali 8-3, Pat Neshek 14-11, Joe Nathan 23-15, Julio DePaula 23-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kevin Slowey 4-9, Matt Guerrier 2-1, Pat Neshek 1-2, Joe Nathan 1-3, Julio DePaula 2-1
Batters Faced - Kevin Slowey 21, Matt Guerrier 5, Juan Rincon 3, Carmen Cali 2, Pat Neshek 4, Joe Nathan 8, Julio DePaula 7
Game Information
Attendance - 16218
Game Time - 3:48
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Ted Barrett, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - Mark Carlson, Third Base - Angel Hernandez