All it took for the Indians tonight was for two things to happen: one big swing of a bat and nine good innings of pitching.
The Tribe got them both when Asdrubal Cabrera belted a three-run homer in the third inning, and Josh Tomlin (12-5) and four relievers made it stand up in a 3-1 victory over Minnesota that keeps Cleveland three games back of Detroit in the AL Central.
The Twins’ Brian Duensing was the victim of the one mistake to Cabrera and fell to 8-11 on the season.
In the Cleveland third, Shin-Soo Choo walked leading off, and Jason Donald singled to put two on with nobody out. Cabrera then connected with a drive to the Home Run Porch in left for his 20th long ball.
The Indians played some solid defense tonight, and Tomlin had one of those gems when he got his glove on a liner right back to the mound and had the presence of mind to retrieve the ball after it dropped to the ground and got a force at second.
Matt LaPorta had a fine play in the very first inning when he snared a hard grounder down the line that was headed for extra bases off the bat of leadoff hitter Denard Span and made the unassisted putout at first.
The Twins dented the scoreboard in the seventh with two outs when Delmon Young hit a flare to short right off of Joe Smith that scored Justin Morneau, but Minnesota’s rally ended with two on when Rafael Perez came on and struck out Tsuyoshi Nishioka.
Tony Sipp worked a perfect eighth, and Chris Perez, for the second straight night, worked a one-two-three ninth to end it.
Tomlin worked 6.1 innings, allowing just four hits and the one run, to lower his ERA to 3.97.
The Indians collected ten hits but went only 1-for-6 with men in scoring position, but all is well that ends well. Donald, Cabrera, Fukudome and LaPorta all collected two hits.
Cleveland caught a tough break tonight when Detroit fell behind at Baltimore 5-0, but rallied to win 6-5, allowing the Tigers to retain their cushion over the Indians.
The Tribe will now wrap up this series on Sunday at 1:05 and go for the sweep when David Huff gets the start for The Good Guys.