CLEVELAND: Perhaps the Minnesota Twins’ curse on the Indians has finally been reversed.
After a season of success against the rest of the division but several perplexing losses to the last-place Twins, the Indians took care of them on Wednesday night 8-4 to complete a three-game sweep at Progressive Field.
Corey Kluber furthered his bid for his second American League Cy Young Award and the Indians offense put together a five-run rally in the fifth to easily dispose of the Twins, who had won eight of the teams’ 13 matchups heading into this week.
Kluber (15-8, 3.09 ERA) was strong again, allowing three earned runs on six hits and striking out 11 in eight innings. He held the Twins (49-84) to just one run until the eighth inning when, with the game mostly in hand, Brian Dozier hit a two-run home run. Those eight innings carried some extra value after the bullpen was needed for 7? innings in Tuesday’s win.
It was Kluber’s seventh consecutive win, the longest such streak of his career. In those seven starts, he owns a 1.94 ERA. He’s also now thrown 10 consecutive quality starts, which is tied with Detroit’s Justin Verlander for the longest streak in the majors.
The Indians (76-56) chipped away against Twins starting pitcher Pat Dean (1-5, 6.75 ERA) and then rallied in the fifth to put the game away.
With the Indians leading 2-0, Roberto Perez drilled a solo home run to center field, giving the team some offensive production from the catcher’s spot that they’ve been missing for much of the year.
With one out, a single by Francisco Lindor was sandwiched between walks to Jason Kipnis and Mike Napoli, loading the bases and bringing relief pitcher J.T. Chargois into the game. Carlos Santana then ripped an RBI single to right field and Jose Ramirez followed with a two-run double down the right-field line. Lonnie Chisenhall capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Santana to make it 7-1.
Kipnis added a sacrifice fly in the eighth to score Rajai Davis, who doubled and then stole his AL-leading 34th base of the season.
Abraham Almonte put the Indians on top 1-0 in the second inning with an RBI double to left field. After the Twins tied it 1-1 with a solo home run by Max Kepler, Santana answered in the fourth with a solo shot, his career-best 28th of the season.
Perci Garner made his major league debut in the ninth inning, recording his first career strikeout but also allowing two hits and a walk to load the bases, making it a save situation and forcing Indians manager Terry Francona to bring Bryan Shaw out of the bullpen to record the final out.
Shaw allowed a run on a wild pitch before striking out Dozier to end the game for his first save of the season.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RyanLewisABJ.