The left-hander won his third straight decision, allowing two
runs and six hits, four for extra bases. He walked two and struck
Matthew LeCroy and Corey Koskie hit solo homers for the Twins,
who have lost 15 of 21 and again failed to build momentum from an
emotional win -- a 9-2 victory over Cleveland on Friday that
featured a bench-clearing scuffle and five ejections.
The Twins beat Kansas City 16-2 on June 19, then lost the next
two to Milwaukee. An 11th-inning comeback victory over the Chicago
White Sox 6-5 on June 25 was followed by two straight defeats. And
a 10th-inning rally past the Brewers last Sunday preceded four
Blake set career highs for hits and RBI. He hit a two-run
double off Joe Mays (8-6) in the first inning, an RBI single in the
third and a double in the fifth. Blake added a solo homer off Grant
Balfour in the seventh and a three-run shot off J.C. Romero in the
In what might have been a last chance to save his spot in the
rotation, Mays lasted only 50 pitches and three innings. Allowing
six hits, five runs and a walk, his ERA climbed to 6.57.
Lawton hit an opposite-field homer with one out in the first,
Blake doubled in two runs and Tim Laker drove in another with a
groundout to put the Indians up 4-0 after one.
With two outs and one on in the third, Mays gave up a single to
Blake that left fielder Dustan Mohr scooped on one hop. The throw
home, up the line, bounced in front of catcher A.J. Pierzynski and
skidded away for an error on Mohr as Ben Broussard scored from
second to make it 5-0.
Mays, who signed a $20 million, four-year contract in January
2002 and spent half of last season on the disabled list with an
elbow injury, has made quality starts (six innings or more, three
runs or fewer) in just seven of 18 outings this year.
He's given up 18 runs over his last three starts, lasting a
total of 8 2-3 innings.
Johan Santana, the obvious replacement if Mays is indeed removed
from the rotation, gave up a two-out RBI single in the fourth to
Lawton that tipped off the top of a leaping Cristian Guzman's glove
A two-run homer by Bradley, the next batter, put Cleveland ahead
8-1, and Brandon Phillips drove in a run in the fifth with a
Santana gave up six hits and four runs in three innings, though
he struck out six.
Blake, a journeyman who got 58 at-bats with the Twins from
2000-02, has 10 homers and 35 RBI as the Indians' starting third
baseman this year. He made the team as a non-roster invitee to
spring training. ... Lawton was with Minnesota from 1996 until a
2001 trade sent him to the New York Mets, who later dealt him to
Cleveland. ... Coco Crisp's streak of seven straight times reaching
base to start the game for Cleveland ended. He's bunted on the
first pitch in each game this series. ... The Twins' total of 57
double plays ranks last in baseball. Cleveland's 101 leads the