MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- When stocky rookie Travis Hafner came up in
the eighth inning needing his first triple of the season to
complete the seventh cycle in Cleveland history, the Indians were
selecting spots in the stadium where he had to send the ball to get
a three-base hit.
He found one in right-center field.
Hafner hit for the cycle in his first four at-bats and Brian
Anderson came within two outs of a shutout Thursday afternoon to
lead Cleveland past the listless Minnesota Twins 8-3.
"As soon as it left the bat, guys jumped off the bench and were
rooting hard for him to have enough gas to get there," Anderson
Hafner, a promising prospect because of his power stroke -- not
his speed, was asked if his teammates had any good one-liners once
he reached the dugout after scoring the Indians' eighth run.
"I don't think I could hear any," he said. "I was breathing
Hafner's was the first cycle hit by a Cleveland player since
Andre Thornton did it on April 22, 1978, against Boston. The
designated hitter homered in the first inning, hit a check-swing
double in the fourth and reached on an infield single in the
seventh against Twins starter Brad Radke.
The triple came off James Baldwin, when he slid into third
without a play and drove in Ben Broussard to put the Indians up
7-0. It was the second career triple and the first in 185 at-bats
this year for Hafner, a 6-foot-3, 240-pounder who was acquired in
an offseason trade with Texas. He's batting .254 with eight homers
and 28 RBI.
"I think they enjoyed watching me run the bases and slide more
than the actual cycle itself," said Hafner, a native of Sykeston,
N.D. "It's a pretty neat thing, but I'm just glad we came out and
played well in the game."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wished he would've felt that way.
"That was embarrassing. Embarrassing for our fans," Gardenhire
said. "We have guys with no clue. No clue what's going on out
there. I apologize for the way we played."
Anderson (9-9) allowed six hits, two walks and a run in 8 1-3
innings while striking out eight. The Twins ended their scoreless
streak at 22 1-3 innings when Matthew LeCroy homered in the ninth
and cost the Indians their chance at back-to-back shutouts for the
first time since 1991.
The Twins, who begin a three-game series in Kansas City on
Friday, fell four games back of the idle Royals in the AL Central.
"We need to go out everyday like it's our last game," said
Jacque Jones, who had one of the Twins' nine hits. "If we don't do
that, we should go home. If we do, we'll win a lot of games and
we'll get back over the mountain."
The Twins, their bullpen taxed by a 9-6 loss on Tuesday and a
5-0 defeat in 14 innings on Wednesday, badly needed a quality start
from Radke that they didn't get.
Radke (8-10) suffered his first loss in six starts after the
All-Star break, giving up nine hits and five runs in 6 1-3 innings
while striking out three.
Anderson, who picked up his first win in four starts, pitched
seven shutout innings in a no-decision Saturday against Anaheim.
After LeCroy's homer with one out in the ninth, Anderson was
relieved by David Cortes -- who gave up a sacrifice fly to Dustan
Mohr and an RBI single to Cristian Guzman.
"Two days in a row not hitting the ball," Gardenhire said.
Casey Blake homered and drove in three runs and Jhonny Peralta
hit a pair of doubles for Cleveland, which won for the eighth time
in 11 games and improved to 8-3 against Minnesota this year -- 6-2
at the Metrodome.
The Indians left their clubhouse energized after taking three of
four from a pennant contender and witnessing Hafner's improbable
"You want your guys pulling for each other," manager Eric
Minnesota's Denny Hocking started at 1B for Doug
Mientkiewicz, who has a sore wrist on his glove hand and is
day-to-day. ... Blake, who played briefly for the Twins in 2001 and
2002, is batting .294 with four homers and 10 RBI against his old
team this year. ... Milwaukee's Paul Molitor hit for the cycle on
May 15, 1991 -- the last time the feat occurred in the Metrodome and
the last one the Twins have given up. ... The Twins are 23-24
against the Central this year after going 50-25 last season. ...
Minnesota's club-worst scoreless innings streak is 30, set in 1964
and tied in 1978.