CLEVELAND (AP) -- The young Cleveland Indians are handling their
first pennant chase like a bunch of veterans.
Ben Broussard homered for the second straight night, Scott
Elarton had his best start of the season and the poised Indians
beat lackluster Minnesota 8-2 Friday night, moving within two games
of the Central Division-leading Twins."They are a good team," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
"But to say we are going to pack our bags and go home because we
lost one game -- I doubt it."Cleveland has won five straight and nine of 10, gaining six
games on the Twins in nine days. Minnesota has lost seven of nine.The Indians maintained before the game that they felt no added
pressure as they played the first of 13 games remaining against the
Twins. They proved it on the field."It was important for us to come out and get this first one
tonight," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "We recognize who
we're playing and what time of year it is."The Indians scored five times in the first inning on Victor
Martinez's two-run double and Broussard's three-run home run.Broussard, who hit a pinch-hit grand slam Thursday, made his
second curtain call in two nights. His 10th homer traveled 455 feet
to center."I haven't ever hit one out there," he said.Elarton (2-2) went seven innings, allowing two runs on seven
hits and a walk with four strikeouts. He was backed up by fine
defensive plays from third baseman Casey Blake and right fielder
Jody Gerut."It's been a long time since I've pitched with a lead,"
Elarton said.He said the playoff atmosphere at Jacobs Field helped, too."It's nice to pitch in games that mean something," he said.Matt Miller and Rick White each pitched a scoreless inning of
relief for the Indians.Carlos Silva (10-8) lasted just two innings, the shortest start
of his career, allowing six runs on six hits and a walk."It was a tough night for me, that's all," Silva said.
"Everything I threw, they were hitting."Minnesota had a number of mental miscues.Torii Hunter was doubled-up off first base in the second after
Matt Lawton caught Jacque Jones' drive to left at the wall. Hunter
was already on his way to third when the catch was made.The Twins scored later in the inning on Henry Blanco's RBI
double."The baserunning mistake helped, it could have been a bigger
inning," Elarton said.Blanco was charged with an error in the fourth when Lawton faked
a steal of second. Blanco threw the ball, but no one was covering
second and Lawton advanced. He scored on Omar Vizquel's double for
an 8-2 lead.In the eighth, third baseman Michael Cuddyer and catcher Rob
Bowen let a pop foul drop between them. Bowen got the error."That is not Minnesota Twins baseball," Gardenhire said. "At
least no one got hurt. That's a good sign."Travis Hafner got his team leading 89th RBI on a double in the
second. Vizquel had four of Cleveland's 13 hits.Jones hit his 19th home run in the fourth. Coco Crisp followed
with his 10th homer in the bottom half.
The Indians are 22-3 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at
Jacobs Field. ... The Twins have won only four of 17 series when
they don't win the first game. ... Silva entered the game 2-0 with
a 3.28 ERA in his five previous starts. ... Crisp extended his
hitting streak to a career-high 14 games. ... Broussard, who has
two grand slams this week, batted with the bases loaded in the
fourth and struck out swinging. ... Crisp thought he had a second
homer in the fifth and started clapping his hands as he rounded
first, but the ball hit off the top of the right-field wall. He
then scrambled to second for a double, just beating the throw.