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Cleveland at Minnesota

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Cleveland (7-8) «1002032008111
Minnesota (11-5)000100000140

Talbot delivers another solid start, gets support as Indians rout

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Cleveland Indians needed a game like this, with their lagging offense finally keeping up with the pitching and defense.

Mitch Talbot set the bar high, and Andy Marte and his teammates were up to the task.

Talbot turned in another strong start, Marte homered and drove in three runs and the Indians finally got some hits in an 8-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.

Cleveland came into the game last in the league in batting average and slugging percentage, raising those marks to .222 and .351 after hitting six doubles -- five off Minnesota starter Scott Baker -- and matching a season high with eight runs.

"I know that at the end of the season that the runs are going to be there and that our offense is going to be there," manager Manny Acta said, adding: "I just want to see quality at-bats from all the guys, and it'll happen because you just can't have that many guys for the whole year struggle."

Talbot (2-1) followed his first major league win, a complete game last weekend against the Chicago White Sox, with six impressive innings. He held the Twins to two hits and no earned runs to keep them from sweeping the three-game series. He walked three and struck out three with help from an effective changeup.

The Indians turned four double plays, highlighted by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera's diving stop of a sharp grounder by Michael Cuddyer to turn two and end the seventh inning. Marte hit a two-run homer to left in the fourth inning and a sinking RBI single to center during a three-run sixth.

"When you get runs and you get ahead, it makes your job a lot easier -- a lot less stress," said Talbot, who spent last season in the minors, hindered by a sprained right elbow.

This was only his fourth major league start.

"He knows he's not on a tryout basis here and that he belongs up here and belongs in our rotation," Acta said. "He looks more comfortable out there."

The Indians were happy to leave with a 7-8 record with all their problems at the plate -- especially Marte, who was 1 for 8 entering the game but played in place of sputtering third baseman Jhonny Peralta.

"We've not been scoring a lot of runs," Marte said. "That feels good, you know?"

Russell Branyan doubled and drove in two runs, and Luis Valbuena also hit an RBI double.

Baker (2-2) gave up 10 hits, the first such time since exactly a year ago in a game at Boston against the Red Sox. He was hurt by some well-placed hits, starting with back-to-back ground-rule doubles -- one down each line -- by Cabrera and Grady Sizemore to start the game. Baker allowed six runs before his day was done, allowing five straight one-out hits in the sixth while a two-run Indians lead grew to 5-1.

"I think it was probably one of the best worst outings I've had in awhile," Baker said, adding: "If there was a hole out there, they found it."

Marte, who hits fastballs well, called Baker's down-the-middle offering with two outs and a 2-2 count in the fourth a mistake. Baker? He said he thought he threw a good pitch.

The Twins have won all five series this year, though they had only four extra-base hits while taking two of three games from the Indians and finishing 6-3 on their first homestand at Target Field.

"We're not exactly killing it right now, but we've been catching the ball and throwing it over to this point," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We have a good offense. We'll be fine."

The weather was a winner, too, with nary a delay or postponement and mostly sunny skies at the open-air ballpark. The Twins won't play here again until May 3.

"We've had some wonderful days," Baker said.

Notes

  • Twins 3B Nick Punto missed his sixth straight game because of a sore groin muscle.
  • Marte cost Talbot his only run, dropping a foul popup hit by Orlando Hudson, who then walked, moved up on a balk and later scored. "He just hit a two-run homer. Why get mad at him for letting one in, you know?" Acta said.
  • Twins rookie Drew Butera started for Joe Mauer for only the second time in 16 games, throwing out Marte trying to steal in the sixth and getting a single in the third for his first major league hit. He's the son of former Twins catcher Sal Butera, to whom he said he'll give the ball as a memento: "For all the years that he's thrown me BP and hit me fungoes, I think that's the right thing to do."
 
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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Mitch Talbot, who had a complete-game victory last weekend, keeps the Twins scoreless over six innings. (AP)
Mitch Talbot, who had a complete-game victory last weekend, keeps the Twins scoreless over six innings. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

A. Marte
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Cleveland

M. Talbot
IP 6.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 3
K 3
 
Cleveland Indians
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS5220011 .297
Grady Sizemore, CF4111110 .196
Shin-Soo Choo, RF4000111 .288
Travis Hafner, DH4111011 .235
Matt LaPorta, LF2210201 .214
    Austin Kearns, LF0000000 .320
Russell Branyan, 1B4112011 .286
Andy Marte, 3B4123002 .250
Luis Valbuena, 2B4021000 .205
Lou Marson, C4010012 .103
Totals35811846  
Batting
2B - Asdrubal Cabrera 2 (4, Baker, Burnett), Grady Sizemore (4, Baker), Russell Branyan (1, Baker), Luis Valbuena 2 (2, Baker, Baker)
HR - Andy Marte (1, Baker)
SF - Travis Hafner (2)
RBI - Grady Sizemore (6), Travis Hafner (5), Russell Branyan 2 (2), Andy Marte 3 (4), Luis Valbuena (7)
2-OUT RBI - Andy Marte 2 (2), Luis Valbuena (7)
CS - Andy Marte (1, 2nd base by Baker/Butera)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Valbuena-Marte-Talbot, A. Cabrera-Branyan, A. Cabrera-Branyan, A. Cabrera-Valbuena-Branyan
E - Andy Marte (1, Dropped fly)
Cleveland Indians
Mitch Talbot (W,2-1) 6210330 2.25
Rafael Perez 2100010 3.60
Chris Perez 1100000 4.76
Pitches-Strikes - Mitch Talbot 99-57, Rafael Perez 17-11, Chris Perez 16-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mitch Talbot 8-4, Rafael Perez 3-1
Batters Faced - Mitch Talbot 20, Rafael Perez 6, Chris Perez 4
Minnesota Twins
Denard Span, CF4010010 .259
Orlando Hudson, 2B2100110 .250
   a- Delmon Young, PH1000001 .227
Jason Kubel, LF4000022 .180
Justin Morneau, 1B2021100 .357
Michael Cuddyer, RF3000003 .328
Jim Thome, DH2000101 .208
Brendan Harris, 3B3000001 .200
Drew Butera, C3010000 .167
Alexi Casilla, SS3000001 .000
Totals2714134  
a-popped out for Hudson in the 9th
Batting
2B - Justin Morneau (3, Talbot)
RBI - Justin Morneau (10)
2-OUT RBI - Justin Morneau (1)
Team LOB - 2
Fielding
DP - Hudson-Casilla-Morneau
Minnesota Twins
Scott Baker (L,2-2) 5.21066131 4.81
Alex Burnett 0.1122210 3.38
Ron Mahay 1000100 0.00
Matt Guerrier 1000010 0.00
Jon Rauch 1000010 1.29
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Baker 92-69, Alex Burnett 25-11, Ron Mahay 19-9, Matt Guerrier 11-7, Jon Rauch 8-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Baker 9-3, Ron Mahay 2-1, Matt Guerrier 2-0, Jon Rauch 1-1
Batters Faced - Scott Baker 26, Alex Burnett 4, Ron Mahay 4, Matt Guerrier 3, Jon Rauch 3
Game Information
Attendance - 38810
Game Time - 2:46
Temperature - 52
Umpires - Home - Tim Timmons, First Base - Tim Tschida, Second Base - Bob Davidson, Third Base - Alfonso Marquez