Series: Game 2 of 2

Minnesota won 2-0

Game 1: Tuesday, September 23
Game 2: Wednesday, September 24

Indians 2

(67-92, 29-49 away)

Twins 3

(89-69, 48-33 home)

    8:05 PM ET, September 24, 2003

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

    123456789 R H E
    CLE 000100010 2 7 0
    MIN 00000111 - 3 8 1

    W: J. Orosco (2-1)

    L: R. Betancourt (2-2)

    S: E. Guardado (41)

    Minnesota 3, Cleveland 2

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- With the AL Central title locked up and the starters resting, the Twins still had something to prove on the field Wednesday night.

    Rookie Michael Cuddyer hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning and Minnesota won its 11th straight game, beating the Cleveland Indians 3-2 Wednesday night.

    "You want to do well so Gardy (manager Ron Gardenhire) can have the confidence to put you in during the playoffs," Cuddyer said. "That home run felt pretty good."

    A day after clinching the division title, Minnesota won its team-record 13th in a row at home. The Twins' next game at the Metrodome will be Oct. 4 -- Game 3 in the first round of the playoffs.

    "You prepare yourselves now for the playoffs," said Gardenhire, who sat every Twins regular except Matthew LeCroy. "We played a lot of the kids that have been chomping at the bit, and I thought they had fun out there."

    Overall, the Twins' winning string is their longest since a 15-game streak in 1991, the last year they won the World Series. Minnesota's 45-20 record since All-Star break is tops in the majors.

    "Wow, that's pretty good," Gardenhire said. "That's playing the game the right way."

    Lew Ford, one of 14 rookies who started in this game, homered and hit an RBI triple for Minnesota. And, like Cuddyer, he looked forward to this game as an opportunity.

    "We had a great time here last night, but I just went back home watched TV and went to sleep," Ford said, knowing that he would probably start Wednesday. "I'll be ready in the playoffs if the time comes."

    Ben Broussard homered for Cleveland, which has lost 16 of 21 games.

    "We've had a stretch where the bats have been going good, but not in the last week or so," manager Eric Wedge said.

    Jesse Orosco (1-0) got one out for his first AL victory since July 19, 1998, for Baltimore. Eddie Guardado pitched the ninth for his 41st save in 44 chances.

    "I'm probably older than all of the guys combined out there today," the 46-year-old Orosco said.

    With the score tied at 2 in the eighth, Cuddyer greeted reliever Rafael Betancourt (2-2) with a solo shot to center field. The 423-foot homer, on a 3-2 pitch, was Cuddyer's third.

    Broussard hit a 409-foot drive off Kyle Lohse with one out in the third inning for his 16th homer of the year.

    The Indians' 1-0 lead stood until Ford hit a solo homer off C.C. Sabathia with one out in the sixth. It was Ford's third home run of the year.

    "It was a little hard tonight, I didn't know anything about the people in their lineup," Sabathia said. "It was like spring training."

    Minnesota took a 2-1 lead in the seventh when Denny Hocking hit a two-out single and scored on Ford's triple.

    But, the Indians used a passed ball and wild pitch in the eighth to tie it again. Jhonny Peralta walked to lead off the inning, moved to second on Rob Bowen's passed ball and got to third on Angel Santos' groundout.

    With Coco Crisp at the plate, reliever Rick Reed bounced a wild pitch past Bowen, allowing Peralta to score. One out later Casey Blake singled and stole second base, but was stranded there when Dustan Mohr made a diving play in right field.

    Lohse, Minnesota's likely Game 3 starter in the division series, allowed one run and four hits in six innings.

    Sabathia allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings.

    "C.C. was real good and commanded the ball well," Wedge said. "I'm proud of the way he has battled all year for us."

    Game notes

    The 18 starters in the game played in a combined 905 minor league games this year. The only players who did not play in the minors this year are Hocking, LeCroy and Mohr for the Twins and Blake for the Indians. ... The Indians fell to 9-4 this season on artificial turf. ... Minnesota won the season series over Cleveland (10-9) for the second straight year, marking the first time that has happened since 1988-89. ... A Twins starting pitcher failed to record a victory for the first time in the last nine games. ... The 11-game winning streak is Minnesota's third longest in team history. ... Minnesota improved to 144-7, over the last two years, when leading after seven innings.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press