Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) – Francisco Liriano pitched seven shutout innings, and the Minnesota Twins avoided their first home sweep of the season with a 6-0 win over the Cleveland Indians.
Liriano (8-7) allowed six hits and walked four while fanning eight to improve to 3-0 against the Indians this season, sporting a 1.29 earned run average in 21 innings. The lefty has now won both of his second-half starts after going 0-4 in his last five outings before the All-Star break.
J.J. Hardy hit a two-run double, while Michael Cuddyer went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored for the Twins, who have won four of six. Delmon Young added RBI No. 65, 66 and 67 of the season with three hits in the victory.
Chris Gimenez doubled for the lone Indians extra-base hit, as Cleveland had a season-best six-game win streak snapped. It was the first loss for the club since the All-Star break, the longest the Indians have gone to begin the second half without a loss.
“We need to try to win this (upcoming) series (against Baltimore) to stay within contention,” Young said. “The White Sox are still hot, and Detroit can get hot, too.”
Jake Westbrook (6-6) allowed four runs, six hits and five walks in six frames to take the loss.
“We won the series on the road, which is always a good accomplishment,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “The way we have played the last week or so — we have to be encouraged by how things are going. Take a day off tomorrow, and back to work on Friday.”
The Indians threatened several times in the early innings, but it appeared their luck had run out.
Cleveland put the first two batters of the second inning on base, but Shelley Duncan grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, preceeding Trevor Crowe’s inning- ending strikeout.
The visitors then had runners on first and third with two outs in the third, but Carlos Santana fanned to end the inning, and the Twins scored four times in the home half.
Drew Butera doubled leading off, and Orlando Hudson reached on a one-out walk. Young sent an RBI double down the left field line, and Jason Kubel was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Cuddyer made the Indians pay for the decision, singling to left to score Hudson. Young was thrown out at home on the play, but Hardy contributed with his two-run double before Westbrook got out of the inning.
The Indians loaded the bases in the fifth with one away, but Jayson Nix grounded into an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play, and Matt LaPorta lined into a double play to end the sixth.
In the seventh, Cleveland had runners on second and third with two outs, but Liriano struck out Asdrubal Cabrera to keep the shutout intact. Young’s two- run single in the eighth off Jess Todd accounted for the final margin, as Jesse Crain and Anthony Slama finished off the whitewash.
Slama made his major league debut…Santana had a streak of 15 straight games reaching base snapped…Gimenez’s hit extended the Indians’ streak of games with an extra-base hit to 44, the AL’s longest active stretch…Twins manager Ron Gardenhire tended to a family matter and was not present at the game. Third base coach Scott Ullger managed the team Wednesday…Minnesota announced that Brian Duensing will take Nick Blackburn’s place in the rotation on Friday…Hudson has a 10-game hit streak.