Minnesota at Cleveland

W: N. Blackburn (5-4) L: P. Byrd (3-6)
S: J. Nathan (17)
HR: MIN - J. Kubel (8)   CLE - K. Shoppach (3), G. Sizemore (13)

Morneau, Kubel gang up on Indians as Twins halt six-game skid

CBSSports.com wire reports

CLEVELAND -- It wasn't perfectly drawn, but Minnesota's first victory in a week looked like a masterpiece to the Twins.

Justin Morneau drove in three runs and Jason Kubel hit a home run to help the Twins defeat the Cleveland Indians 8-5, snapping a six-game losing streak Wednesday night.

"It was a sigh of relief to be able to exhale a bit," said Michael Cuddyer, who scored twice and made a key diving catch in right field to help Minnesota move two games ahead of third-place Cleveland in the AL Central.

Nick Blackburn (5-4) won for the first time since May 16, allowing two runs and seven hits in six innings. Jesse Crain struck out three in 1 1/3 innings and Joe Nathan worked the ninth for his 17th save in 18 chances after Grady Sizemore hit a three-run homer with two outs in the seventh to get Cleveland within 6-5.

Boof Bonser walked David Dellucci and yielded a single to Casey Blake to open the seventh. The right-hander got two quick outs and was replaced by left-hander Dennys Reyes. Sizemore, hitting .219 against lefties, lined a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right for his 13th home run.

"It's amazing when you go through a streak like this that you don't give up singles, but three-run homers," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I can handle a single there -- but a homer?

"Jesse did a super, super job and we tacked on the insurance runs to get it to Joe. It was good to see Nathan out there, we haven't got many games to him lately."

Alexi Casilla extended his hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI single in the ninth to make it 7-5. He stole second and scored on a two-out double by Morneau.

Indians catcher Victor Martinez left after one inning. The Indians announced that he will undergo an MRI on Thursday to check on an inflamed right elbow, the latest in a string of injuries to the defending division champions. Right-hander Jake Westbrook is scheduled for season-ending elbow surgery Thursday, right-hander Fausto Carmona has been sidelined since May 24 with a strained left hip and designated hitter Travis Hafner is on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder.

"Victor got hurt on a swing in the first inning," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He winced when it happened. It's something that's been bothering him on and off all year. It must have been one of those swings that bit him a little more than usual."

Martinez led Cleveland a year ago with 25 home runs, 114 RBI and a .301 average, but has no home runs and only 21 RBI in 198 at-bats this season. He's batting .278, but only .216 (25-for-116) since April 30.

Kubel's two-run homer capped a five-run third off Paul Byrd (3-6) that put Minnesota ahead 6-1. Morneau's two-run double broke a 1-1 tie. Michael Cuddyer doubled home Morneau and scored when Kubel hit a 3-1 pitch over the wall in center for his seventh home run.

"It was like a pinball machine," Byrd said. "Balls were flying all over the place. I'll shoulder the blame. It's pretty much all on me. I'll be awake thinking about this. I'm frustrated."

The Twins had been outscored 44-17, hit .178 (8-for-45) with runners in scoring position, and compiled an 8.08 ERA during their six-game slide -- their longest losing streak since dropping eight in a row from July 5-13, 2003.

The Twins scored an unearned run on a sacrifice fly by Mike Lamb in the second.

Jamey Carroll's RBI double tied it in the bottom half. Franklin Gutierrez tried to score from first on the play, but was thrown out to end the inning.

Kelly Shoppach replaced Martinez and hit his third home run in the sixth to make it 6-2.

Byrd gave up five earned runs and six hits in three innings -- his shortest outing since going three April 9 at Los Angeles against the Angels.

"When we score five runs we have to win," the right-hander said. "I'm a better pitcher than this."


  • Wedge said that if 2B Josh Barfield could not grip a bat "in a day or two," it could result in a trip to the disabled list because of a strained left middle finger.
  • Gardenhire said the Twins will make a roster move following their game Thursday night. The club will open a three-game interleague series Friday in Milwaukee and will add a position player. RHP Juan Rincon has a stiff neck and could go to the DL.
  • Lamb went 0-for-2 to extend his slump to 0-for-22.
  • Gomez has hit in 12 consecutive games.
  • Byrd has yielded an AL-high 17 home runs.
Copyright 2017 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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Justin Morneau is the catalyst for Minnesota, driving in three runs to help end the slide.  (AP)
Justin Morneau is the catalyst for Minnesota, driving in three runs to help end the slide. (AP)

Players of the Game

G. Sizemore
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1

J. Morneau
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0

Related Video

Minnesota Twins
Carlos Gomez, CF5220010 .280
Alexi Casilla, 2B3111110 .330
Joe Mauer, C2100301 .324
Justin Morneau, 1B5123003 .298
Michael Cuddyer, RF5211011 .247
Jason Kubel, DH4132000 .254
Delmon Young, LF4010011 .265
Mike Lamb, 3B3001001 .225
Brendan Harris, SS4000012 .240
2B - Justin Morneau 2 (13, Byrd, Borowski), Michael Cuddyer (9, Byrd)
HR - Jason Kubel (8, Byrd)
SF - Mike Lamb (7)
SH - Alexi Casilla (3)
RBI - Alexi Casilla (19), Justin Morneau 3 (47), Michael Cuddyer (30), Jason Kubel 2 (34), Mike Lamb (25)
2-OUT RBI - Justin Morneau (17)
SB - Carlos Gomez (18, 2nd base off Borowski/Shoppach), Alexi Casilla (3, 2nd base off Borowski/Shoppach)
Team LOB - 6
Outfield Assists - Delmon Young 1
DP - Casilla-Harris-Morneau, Lamb-Casilla-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
Nick Blackburn (W,5-4) 6722151 3.87
Boof Bonser 0.2122110 6.19
Dennys Reyes0111001 2.79
Jesse Crain (H,6) 1.1000130 3.25
Joe Nathan (S,17) 1100010 1.35
Pitches-Strikes - Nick Blackburn 94-63, Boof Bonser 12-7, Dennys Reyes 6-4, Jesse Crain 23-12, Joe Nathan 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Nick Blackburn 6-4, Boof Bonser 1-0, Joe Nathan 1-1
Batters Faced - Nick Blackburn 23, Boof Bonser 4, Dennys Reyes 1, Jesse Crain 5, Joe Nathan 4
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF5123002 .264
Ben Francisco, LF4000001 .291
Victor Martinez, C1000001 .278
    Kelly Shoppach, C3111020 .225
Ryan Garko, 1B3000121 .265
    Josh Barfield, PR0000000 .000
    Andy Marte, 3B0000000 .152
Jhonny Peralta, SS3000121 .224
David Dellucci, DH3100122 .236
Casey Blake, 3B-1B4130000 .254
Franklin Gutierrez, RF3110002 .253
   a- Shin-Soo Choo, PH1000010 .296
Jamey Carroll, 2B4031012 .245
a-struck out for Gutierrez in the 9th
2B - Grady Sizemore (14, Blackburn), Jamey Carroll (4, Blackburn)
HR - Grady Sizemore (13, Reyes), Kelly Shoppach (3, Blackburn)
RBI - Grady Sizemore 3 (35), Kelly Shoppach (7), Jamey Carroll (8)
2-OUT RBI - Grady Sizemore 3 (20), Jamey Carroll (5)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Bauer-Peralta-Garko
E - Casey Blake (8, Throwing)
Cleveland Indians
Paul Byrd (L,3-6) 3665101 4.89
Scott Elarton 3000220 2.45
Rick Bauer 1000110 13.50
Rafael Betancourt 1100020 6.75
Joe Borowski 1322000 9.00
WP - Scott Elarton (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Paul Byrd 44-28, Scott Elarton 46-24, Rick Bauer 12-8, Rafael Betancourt 19-13, Joe Borowski 24-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Byrd 6-4, Scott Elarton 5-2, Rick Bauer 1-0
Batters Faced - Paul Byrd 17, Scott Elarton 11, Rick Bauer 3, Rafael Betancourt 4, Joe Borowski 6
Game Information
Attendance - 18742
Game Time - 2:59
Temperature - 78
Umpires - Home - Ed Rapuano, First Base - Ed Hickox, Second Base - James Hoye, Third Base - Joe West