Cleveland at Minnesota

Cleveland (37-51)010002000370
Minnesota (50-38) «00000130x470

Twins get to All-Star Lee, add to Indians' woeful slide wire reports

MINNEAPOLIS -- Cliff Lee was cruising, and the Cleveland Indians were on the verge of a much-needed victory.

Then came the seventh inning, and a sign of just how fragile the defending AL Central champions currently are. The Twins took full advantage, using a handful of walks and well-placed singles to send the Indians to their eighth straight loss Sunday.

Carlos Gomez capped the three-run seventh against Lee with an RBI groundout, and Minnesota rallied for a 4-3 victory over Cleveland.

"I have to do a better job of damage control there, and I didn't," said Lee, who learned before the game he was selected for the All-Star team. "And they got a win because of it. That is totally on me right there."

Lee (11-2) lost for the first time in nine starts, hurt by a rare lack of control in the seventh that helped the resourceful Twins put together another one of their small-ball rallies. They batted eight times that inning and hit the ball out of the infield twice.

"We've got a good attitude on the bench. Guys are into it," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We feel like something's going to happen eventually. We've just got to keep plugging away."

Since losing 12-2 to the Indians in Cleveland on June 12, the Twins are 18-3. They have swept four of their last six series. The surge looks more impressive upon examination of the recent list of losing opposing pitchers: Lee, Ben Sheets, Greg Maddux, Trevor Hoffman, Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson.

"It definitely proves we can hit. We can score runs against anybody," said Glen Perkins (5-2), the latest beneficiary of the uptick in offense.

Perkins allowed seven hits in seven innings before turning the lead over to Matt Guerrier and Joe Nathan, who celebrated his third All-Star selection by pitching a perfect ninth for this 25th save.

Perkins, who hasn't lost in seven starts since May 30, has been one of Minnesota's most consistent starters. The left-hander has allowed three runs or less in his last six appearances.

Lee needed 37 pitches to finish the seventh.

He walked two, including Denard Span with the bases loaded, and wasted a 3-1 lead cushioned by Jhonny Peralta's two-run homer in the sixth. Lee had issued just 17 walks in 111 2/3 innings all season before Sunday.

"When you're going through stretches like we're going through right now, that's usually the way it works," manager Eric Wedge said.

Until Span started the sixth with a triple, the only hits by the Twins didn't leave the infield -- a popped-up bunt by Alexi Casilla that just cleared Lee's head and a grounder that Gomez beat out, drawing a brief argument about the call from Wedge.

Lee struck out Gomez after Span's triple and traded an out for a run when Casilla hit a grounder to shortstop, still taking a 3-1 lead into the seventh.

But with one out, Craig Monroe walked. Delmon Young reached on an infield single when third baseman Andy Marte lost the ball trying to pull it from his glove after a diving stop and a spin move left him on the ground.

Brendan Harris followed with a single to load the bases, and Nick Punto pulled the Twins within one with his base hit on a 3-1 pitch. Lee went to a 3-1 count again on Span, and ball four tied the game. Gomez gave Minnesota its first lead on his groundout to shortstop.

"I try not to look at the name of the back of the jersey," Span said. "They've got to throw strikes just like anybody else, whether down in the minor leagues or up here."

Lee was critical of himself, especially for the bases-loaded walk to Span, but he still found a way to be optimistic.

"I think we can turn it around," he said. "It's just going to take everybody playing the game the right way."

The Indians are off Monday, a welcome respite after a miserable weekend made worse by the uncertainty of C.C. Sabathia's status amid trade talks the team is having regarding the big left-hander.

"They need to get away from it, give themselves a break," Wedge said. "Obviously, it was a very tough road trip. We have a lot going on right now. Hopefully, with the good off day we can put a lot of this behind us and take a positive step forward."


  • Twenty-four of the Twins' 50 wins have come after they fell behind.
  • Injured Indians starter Fausto Carmona threw a strong bullpen session of 35 pitches before the game, and he's set for 50 pitches Tuesday as he progresses toward a return in the second half.
  • Casilla stretched his hitting streak to 13 games.
  • Kelly Shoppach has hit well as the Indians' regular catcher with Victor Martinez on the DL. He's batting .310 (22-for-71) with eight doubles, four homers and 13 RBI in 21 games since Martinez's injury in the middle of June, but Wedge said the team hasn't talked about moving Martinez to 1B once he's healthy. The Indians are still evaluating Shoppach and his ability to play close to every day.
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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The feisty Twins frustrate Indians starter Cliff Lee and extend Cleveland's precipitous fall.  (AP)
The feisty Twins frustrate Indians starter Cliff Lee and extend Cleveland's precipitous fall. (AP)

Players of the Game

J. Peralta
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

D. Span
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 0

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Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF4020000 .269
Jamey Carroll, 2B2000110 .274
Ben Francisco, LF4110003 .272
Jhonny Peralta, SS4112002 .250
Casey Blake, 1B4010010 .280
Kelly Shoppach, C4110011 .265
Ryan Garko, DH3011001 .244
   a- Shin-Soo Choo, PH-DH1000010 .244
Andy Marte, 3B3000011 .143
Franklin Gutierrez, RF3000011 .218
a-struck out for Garko in the 9th
2B - Kelly Shoppach (12, Perkins)
HR - Jhonny Peralta (13, Perkins)
SH - Jamey Carroll (6)
RBI - Jhonny Peralta 2 (38), Ryan Garko (40)
Team LOB - 4
Cleveland Indians
Cliff Lee (L,11-2) 7644260 2.43
Rafael Betancourt 1100010 5.67
Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 108-71, Rafael Betancourt 15-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 9-6
Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 29, Rafael Betancourt 4
Minnesota Twins
Carlos Gomez, CF4011011 .269
Alexi Casilla, 2B4011013 .320
Mike Redmond, C4010011 .297
Justin Morneau, 1B4000002 .307
Craig Monroe, DH2100100 .219
   a- Jason Kubel, PH-DH1000011 .266
Delmon Young, LF4110021 .288
Brendan Harris, 3B3110000 .250
Nick Punto, SS3011000 .289
Denard Span, RF2111110 .313
a-struck out for Monroe in the 8th
3B - Denard Span (1, Lee)
RBI - Carlos Gomez (30), Alexi Casilla (35), Nick Punto (14), Denard Span (5)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Punto-Casilla-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
Glen Perkins (W,5-2) 7733131 4.27
Matt Guerrier (H,11) 1000010 3.06
Joe Nathan (S,25) 1000020 1.23
Pitches-Strikes - Glen Perkins 97-69, Matt Guerrier 10-7, Joe Nathan 11-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Glen Perkins 6-11, Matt Guerrier 1-1, Joe Nathan 1-0
Batters Faced - Glen Perkins 28, Matt Guerrier 3, Joe Nathan 3
Game Information
Attendance - 30258
Game Time - 2:27
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Jeff Nelson, First Base - Adrian Johnson, Second Base - Tim Tschida, Third Base - Jim Joyce