Cleveland at Minnesota

Cleveland (81-58) «3000000036151
Minnesota (69-71)000020000280

Sizzling Indians sweep away Twins again wire reports

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins' reign atop the AL Central is all but over. After being swept twice by Cleveland in the last 10 games, they're making way for the new kids in town.

Victor Martinez had two hits and two RBI to back a quality start from Fausto Carmona, and the surging Indians beat Minnesota 6-2 on Wednesday for their seventh consecutive win over the defending division champs.

"They've grown together, and now they're ready to go," Minnesota's Torii Hunter said. "I wish them luck. They go on to the playoffs. Hopefully, they do well and bring it back home to the Central."

Carmona (15-8) allowed two runs and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings to help the AL Central leaders to their 11th win in 12 games. Six of those victories have come against the Twins, who had won five in a row when they walked into Jacobs Field on Aug. 27 looking to cut into Cleveland's 6½-game lead in the division.

But the Twins were swept out of the Jake, split a series with Kansas City, and were swept again this week by Cleveland. Minnesota now trails the Indians by 12½ games.

Cleveland remained seven games ahead of second-place Detroit. The Twins are nine games out of the wild-card spot.

"We're going to have to have a lot of help," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "When you're playing head-to-head against people and you don't beat them, and they sweep you, that knocks your socks off a little bit. We've gotten ourselves in a very, very deep hole."

Rafael Perez recorded five outs for his first major league save.

"We've got a good vibe right now," said Cleveland's Casey Blake, who had three hits. "It just seems like we're playing pretty well in all areas of the game. And it's nice to have some good energy going on."

Twins starter Scott Baker (8-7) gave up three runs and 11 hits with six strikeouts in five innings, a resounding step back from his stellar outing on Friday against the Royals.

Baker carried a perfect game into the ninth in that one, and was two outs from a no-hitter when Mike Sweeney broke it up.

On Wednesday, Grady Sizemore needed just two pitches to get the first hit off Baker, lining a single to center field to lead off the game. Baker then hit Asdrubal Cabrera in the back with a pitch and gave up an RBI double to Travis Hafner.

Martinez followed with another double to score two more runs, and it was 3-0 Indians before the smattering of Twins fans even got settled into their seats. It took Baker 27 pitches to get his first out of the game.

The right-hander from Louisiana walked a tightrope all afternoon, wobbling a few times but never being knocked off.

The Indians had a leadoff single in all five innings Baker worked. But he came up with some timely strikeouts, including one of Martinez with the bases loaded in the fourth, and stranded nine baserunners to limit the damage.

Carmona breezed through the first four innings against a Twins lineup he has dominated all season. He entered the game with a 1.14 ERA in three previous starts against the Twins.

"We're playing real well," Carmona said through a translator. "We need to continue playing the same way we have been playing for the last two weeks. But we have to make sure we don't take anything for granted and play hard."

The wiry Dominican needed just 54 pitches to get through the first four innings, but gave up two runs and four hits in the fifth to let the Twins back in the game.

Luis Rodriguez had a sacrifice fly and Hunter added an RBI single to make the score 3-2, but Carmona induced cleanup hitter Justin Morneau to ground out with runners on the corners to end the inning.

The Indians tacked on three more runs in the ninth, two coming on pinch-hitter Kenny Lofton's single off Pat Neshek.

"We can't afford not to peak right now," Blake said. "But I don't even know if we're peaking. There's no reason why we can't play like this all the time. But we couldn't afford to play just average baseball right now."


  • Twins RF Michael Cuddyer recorded his AL-leading 18th outfield assist in the fifth when he threw out Ryan Garko at the plate to end the inning. It was a questionable decision by Indians 3B coach Joel Skinner to send Garko from second on a single by Blake against Cuddyer, who has one of the strongest arms in the league.
  • Twins C Mike Redmond had X-rays on his finger, which came back normal. He has a sprained ligament on his left middle knuckle and will be out at least a few days. Joe Mauer is still out with a bad hamstring, so Chris Heintz started behind the plate.
Copyright 2015 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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Travis Hafner goes 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs as the Indians sweep the Twins again.  (AP)
Travis Hafner goes 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs as the Indians sweep the Twins again. (AP)

Players of the Game

T. Hafner
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 0

V. Martinez
AB 5
R 0
H 2
HR 0

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Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF5110003 .274
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B3210122 .317
Travis Hafner, DH3221201 .260
Victor Martinez, C5022026 .305
Ryan Garko, 1B4010013 .297
Jhonny Peralta, SS5121033 .270
Franklin Gutierrez, LF-RF4000124 .264
Jason Michaels, RF4020002 .268
   a- Kenny Lofton, PH-LF1012000 .304
Casey Blake, 3B5030014 .268
a-singled for Michaels in the 9th
2B - Travis Hafner (20, Baker), Victor Martinez (37, Baker), Jhonny Peralta 2 (24, Baker, Neshek), Casey Blake (31, Baker)
RBI - Travis Hafner (85), Victor Martinez 2 (100), Jhonny Peralta (66), Kenny Lofton 2 (34)
2-OUT RBI - Jhonny Peralta (23), Kenny Lofton 2 (19)
Team LOB - 12
DP - Peralta-A. Cabrera-Garko, Carmona-Garko, A. Cabrera-Peralta-Garko, A. Cabrera-Peralta-Garko
E - Ryan Garko (8, Throwing)
Cleveland Indians
Fausto Carmona (W,15-8) 7.1822240 3.27
Rafael Perez (S,1) 1.2000000 1.56
HBP - Hunter (by Fausto Carmona)
WP - Rafael Perez (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Fausto Carmona 105-64, Rafael Perez 19-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Fausto Carmona 13-2, Rafael Perez 3-2
Batters Faced - Fausto Carmona 30, Rafael Perez 5
Minnesota Twins
Jason Tyner, LF4020000 .296
Luis Rodriguez, 2B3011000 .223
Torii Hunter, CF3021002 .291
Justin Morneau, 1B3000103 .280
Michael Cuddyer, RF3000113 .276
Jason Kubel, DH3000011 .262
   a- Rondell White, PH-DH1000000 .141
Brian Buscher, 3B3120000 .270
   b- Jason Bartlett, PH1000001 .274
Chris Heintz, C4000022 .206
Nick Punto, SS3110000 .198
a-grounded out for Kubel in the 9th
b-grounded into a double play for Buscher in the 9th
SF - Luis Rodriguez (2)
RBI - Luis Rodriguez (11), Torii Hunter (97)
2-OUT RBI - Torii Hunter (42)
SB - Torii Hunter (15, 3rd base off R. Perez/Martinez)
Team LOB - 6
Outfield Assists - Michael Cuddyer 1
DP - Morneau-Punto, Punto-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
Scott Baker (L,8-7) 51133260 4.14
Nick Blackburn 3222130 4.50
Pat Neshek 1211120 2.86
IBB - Hafner by Scott Baker
HBP - A. Cabrera (by Scott Baker), Garko (by Scott Baker)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Baker 97-66, Nick Blackburn 50-26, Pat Neshek 23-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Baker 5-1, Nick Blackburn 1-5
Batters Faced - Scott Baker 27, Nick Blackburn 12, Pat Neshek 6
Game Information
Attendance - 13977
Game Time - 3:01
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - James Hoye, First Base - Mark Carlson, Second Base - Angel Hernandez, Third Base - Ted Barrett