Mauer's 3-Hits, 3 RBI Help Down Cleveland
Joe Mauer broke out of a slump with three hits and three RBIs, including a two-run homer, to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 7-4 win over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night.
Mauer entered the game in an 0-for-10 skid, but had an RBI single in Minnesota's four-run first inning. He also singled in the second and hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Tony Sipp.
Trevor Plouffe's one-out homer in the sixth off Josh Tomlin (2-3) broke a 4-all tie.
Brian Duensing (1-2) pitched two scoreless innings as the Twins won for the fourth time in five games. Matt Capps pitched the ninth for his 11th save.
The Indians have lost six of eight, due primarily to poor starting pitching. Cleveland's starters are 2-6 with a 9.52 ERA in the last eight games.
Mauer was behind the plate Saturday for the first time since being hit in the face mask with a foul tip Monday.
Minnesota sent nine men to the plate in the first off Tomlin, who needed 32 pitches to get through the inning. Mauer and Justin Morneau had RBI singles and Plouffe added a two-run single with the bases loaded.
Twins starter P.J. Walters couldn't hold the lead and didn't get through the fifth inning. The right-hander allowed four runs in 4 1-3 innings.
The Indians scored in the first on Michael Brantley's fielder's choice with the bases loaded and again in the third on Asdrubal Cabrera's RBI single. Lou Marson's RBI groundout cut the lead to 4-3 in the fourth. Brantley tied the game with an RBI single in the fifth that extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Walters appeared to tweak his right arm earlier in the inning when he attempted a pickoff throw to first base after Jason Kipnis singled. Walters stepped behind the mound and was visited by manager Ron Gardenhire and a trainer. He remained in the game without throwing a warmup pitch. Walters retired Cabrera, but gave up singles to Jose Lopez and Brantley before being replaced by Duensing.
Singles by Denard Span and Ben Revere started the first-inning rally. Mauer's single to left scored Span and Morneau's one-out single to right made it 2-0. After a walk loaded the bases, it looked like Tomlin might avoid further damage when Brian Dozier's ground ball forced Mauer at home, but Plouffe followed with a two-run single.
The Indians loaded the bases with one out in the first, but scored only one run on Brantley's fielder's choice. Kipnis started the third with a single, stole second and scored on Cabrera's single to left. Cabrera was thrown out at second trying for a double by Josh Willingham.
Tomlin made his second start since being on the DL last month with right wrist soreness. He allowed five runs and 10 hits in six innings.
The Twins announced before the game pitcher Carl Pavano will return to Minneapolis on Sunday to have an MRI on his sore right shoulder. Pavano is 2-5 with a 6.00 ERA in 11 starts. He's scheduled to start Wednesday against Kansas City.
NOTES: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire praised the no-hitter thrown by former Minnesota LHP Johan Santana against Friday. "I tried to text him to say congratulations, but the son of a gun changed his number," Gardenhire said. "That was a big moment in New York. I was nervous for Johan." ... Minnesota has lost 11 of its last 13 meetings against Cleveland. ... The teams wrap up their three-game series Sunday at 3:05 p.m. Cleveland RHP Justin Masterson (2-4, 5.14 ERA) faces Minnesota LHP Scott Diamond (3-1, 2.27). ... Indians C Carlos Santana, who has been out for a week with a concussion, took batting practice, threw to the bases and ran the bases before Saturday's game. He might return Tuesday, but must pass major league baseball's standard test for players with concussions before returning. ... Former Indians INF Carlos Baerga threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
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