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Streaking Indians Thump The Twins, Laffey Wins A Laugher

Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) – Trevor Crowe had a career-high four hits and drove in two runs, as the Cleveland Indians remained hot with a 10-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins in the opener of a three-game series at Target Field.

Jayson Nix went 3-for-6 with two RBI for the Indians, who matched a season high with their fifth consecutive win, having swept Detroit in four games in their previous series.

Cleveland recorded a season-high 20 hits to support an effective start by Aaron Laffey (2-3). He threw only 58 of his 100 pitches for strikes and lasted five innings, but limited the Twins to an unearned run on five hits and four walks.

“Any time you walk four guys and only give up one run, obviously you’re going to be frustrated about the walks, but I was able to minimize the damage and get out of a big jam in the fourth,” Laffey said. “I made big pitches when I needed to and get the outs when they were the most important.”

Scott Baker (7-9) gave up six runs on 10 hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings and took the loss, which snapped Minnesota’s three-game win streak.

Crowe’s RBI double and a run-scoring groundout by Jason Donald gave the Indians a 2-0 lead in the second inning. The Twins had a big scoring chance in the fourth, when they loaded the bases with one out. However, they came away with just one run — Jason Kubel scored on a passed ball — and the Indians took control in the next half-inning.

With runners on the corners and one out, Jhonny Peralta lofted a sacrifice fly to make it a 3-1 game. Back-to-back singles from Matt LaPorta and Crowe followed to plate another run and force Baker from the game.

Alex Burnett entered but did not record an out, instead giving up run-scoring singles to Donald and Michael Brantley. Ron Mahay replaced Burnett and allowed an RBI single to Nix, which pushed Cleveland’s lead to 7-1, before getting out of the inning.

Jim Thome opened the bottom of the sixth with a home run off Jensen Lewis, the 575th of his career. Orlando Hudson later doubled in Denard Span, who had walked in the previous at-bat, to get the Twins within four.

Minnesota had chances to get closer in the following innings. In the seventh, the Twins put runners in scoring position with one out, but Thome grounded out before Danny Valencia popped out.

After Travis Hafner’s RBI double in the top of eighth made it an 8-3 game, the Twins began the home half with singles by J.J. Hardy and Span. But again they didn’t take advantage, as Hudson struck out before Joe Mauer grounded into a double play.

Cleveland added two more runs in the ninth, on Nix’s run-scoring single and a sacrifice fly from Carlos Santana, to further pull ahead. Delmon Young had an RBI single in the bottom half.

“They’re hot right now. You don’t want to play a team that’s hot right now. Everything is going to go their way,” Young said.

Minnesota went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position…Cleveland scored double-digit runs for the first time since June 9, when it took an 11-0 win over Boston…Young finished with three hits for Minnesota…Twins first baseman Justin Morneau will see a specialist Tuesday, as he continues to deal with symptoms of a concussion he sustained before the All-Star break. Morneau is on the disabled list and eligible to be activated Friday, but that is not a certainty at this point. It’s likely he will not travel with the team as it opens a seven-game trip Thursday in Baltimore…The Indians plan to have injured outfielder Shin-Soo Choo (sprained thumb) and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (forearm surgery) back on Friday. They will both have rehab assignments with Double-A Akron.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.