Final in 11

Series: Game 1 of 3

Minnesota leads 1-0 (as of 4/5)

Game 1: Monday, April 5
Cleveland4Final
in 11
Minnesota7
Game 2: Tuesday, April 6
Cleveland6Final
in 16
Minnesota7
Game 3: Wednesday, April 7
Cleveland11Final
Minnesota4

Indians 4

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Twins 7

(1-0, 1-0 home)

    8:10 PM ET, April 5, 2004

    Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

    1234567891011 R H E
    CLE 02100100000 4 17 0
    MIN 00000004003 7 10 1

    W: J. Rincon (1-0)

    L: C. Durbin (0-1)

    Cleveland bullpen ends up sheepish

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins' reconfigured bullpen had a stellar season opener.

    Can't say the same about Cleveland.

    Shannon Stewart hit a three-run homer with two outs in the 11th inning, giving the Twins a 7-4 comeback victory over the Indians on Monday night.

    The Twins lost their top two relievers -- Eddie Guardado and LaTroy Hawkins -- to free agency in the offseason. How the revamped bullpen will hold up was a question mark coming into the season.

    "We all did our job and gave us a chance to win," said J.C. Romero, one of five Minnesota relievers who pitched a scoreless inning. "That's what we're here for."

    Travis Hafner hit two of Cleveland's three home runs, and Indians starter C.C. Sabathia pitched seven shutout innings with nothing to show for it.

    "We had two guys we're counting on to take care of innings late in the game who didn't get the job done," said manager Eric Wedge, who watched his team get 17 hits but blow a 4-0 eighth-inning lead against the two-time defending AL Central champions.

    There were actually three culprits for Cleveland -- Jose Jimenez and Scott Stewart in the eighth and Chad Durbin (0-1) in the 11th.

    Matthew LeCroy walked against Durbin with one out, and rookie Joe Mauer singled. With two outs, Shannon Stewart hit a 1-1 pitch to left to end it.

    "It's good to help the team out," he said. "Very exciting."

    Juan Rincon (1-0) worked a scoreless 11th after Joe Nathan nearly gave up a run in the 10th. Omar Vizquel doubled into the right-field corner, but Matt Lawton was out at home on a perfect relay throw by second baseman Michael Cuddyer.

    Sabathia, a 13-game winner last year for an Indians team that went 68-94, gave up two hits in the first inning -- and none after that. He walked three, struck out nine and watched the bullpen fritter away a victory.

    "Nasty," Minnesota's Doug Mientkiewicz said of Sabathia. "Best I've ever seen him."

    Jimenez started the eighth, got one out and left Scott Stewart with runners on second and third. Cuddyer's pinch-hit single to center drove them in, cutting the lead to 4-2.

    After Corey Koskie's double scored Cuddyer, Rafael Betancourt entered and gave up a tying RBI single to Torii Hunter before striking out Jacque Jones and LeCroy.

    "Jose just didn't get the job done tonight," Cleveland's Casey Blake said. "It was too bad for C.C. because he pitched his heart out. With our bullpen, that's a safe lead, and next time they'll get it done."

    Mauer, who started the eighth-inning rally with a walk, singled leading off the ninth for his first major league hit. The 20-year-old catcher, who grew up in St. Paul just a few miles from the Metrodome, was on base four out of five times. Coco Crisp stole second base and beat a high throw from Mauer after a pitchout in the eighth inning.

    Twins starter Brad Radke, beginning his 10th major league season and pitching on Opening Day for the eighth time, wasn't sharp. He allowed four runs, two earned, 11 hits and three homers in six innings.

    Ben Broussard scored on a wild pitch with two outs in the second. Mauer retrieved it and could've nailed the runner, but the throw to Radke at the plate was wild.

    Hafner was batting at the time. Four pitches later, he homered to make it 2-0.

    Shannon Stewart, the only Twins batter to reach base more than once in the first seven innings, had a chance to catch Jody Gerut's third-inning homer but felt it glance off his glove and into the left-field seats.

    Radke gave up Hafner's second homer in the sixth -- an upper-deck shot that gave Cleveland a 4-0 lead.

    Hafner, who had 14 home runs in 291 at-bats last year, hit for the cycle here Aug. 14 and has a .393 career average (11-for-28) at Minnesota.

    Sabathia, meanwhile, was cruising. He was a little wild, as has been his custom, but the 6-foot-7, 290-pound lefty had the Twins baffled all night. He threw 104 pitches.

    "I knew our guys wouldn't quit," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "As soon as they took him out of the game, you could feel the breath of fresh air."

    Game notes


    Broussard hurt his leg on the Metrodome's new synthetic grass surface running in from first base toward Cristian Guzman's bunt in the ninth. He was replaced by Lou Merloni and will be out three to five days, Wedge said. ... Mauer is the youngest catcher to start on Opening Day since 1992, when Ivan Rodriguez debuted for Texas at age 20 -- 224 days younger than Mauer. ... The Indians went 7-20 in April last year en route to their worst finish since 1991. Their first 22 games this year are against division foes.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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