Series: Game 2 of 3

Cleveland leads 2-0 (as of 8/14)

Game 1: Friday, August 13
Game 2: Saturday, August 14
Game 3: Sunday, August 15
in 10

Twins 1

(63-53, 30-26 away)

Indians 7

(63-55, 37-23 home)

7:05 PM ET, August 14, 2004

Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio 

123456789 R H E
MIN 000001000 1 8 0
CLE 40003000 - 7 8 0

W: J. Westbrook (11-5)

L: K. Lohse (5-10)

Minnesota's Central lead dwindles

CLEVELAND (AP) -- A packed stadium. A pennant chase. It's just like the good old days at Jacobs Field.

This time it's Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner pounding teams, instead of Albert Belle and Jim Thome.

Playing in front of their first sellout crowd since opening day, the Indians pulled within one game of the AL Central lead, scoring four runs in the first inning and beating Minnesota 7-1 Saturday night.

After two seemingly effortless wins, the Indians can tie the first-place Twins if they complete the series sweep Sunday.

"We are their whipping boy right now and we don't like that," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

The Indians have not had a piece of the division lead this late in the season since 2001.

They have won six straight and 10 of 11, gaining seven games on the Twins in 10 days. Minnesota, which has lost eight of 10, had a season-high six-game lead over the Indians and Chicago White Sox after last Sunday's games.

"They're a great team. We know that," Indians pitcher Jake Westbrook said of the Twins. "We've just come out real strong early on them and been able to hold them off."

Westbrook (11-5) won for the fifth time in six starts, giving up one run and five hits in seven innings. He was helped by inning-ending double plays in the fourth and fifth innings.

"He was able to make some big pitches in some tough situations," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.

Hafner hit a two-run homer in the first inning, Casey Blake hit a solo shot and Ronnie Belliard's major league-leading 41st double off the wall in left scored Ben Broussard from first for a 4-0 lead. Martinez added a three-run homer in the fifth.

Indians fans have finally taken notice of the team's surge with 40,942 attending the game. One fan's sign read: "PLAYOFF BOUND."

Fans rose to their feet in the seventh as Westbrook faced Michael Cuddyer with two runners in scoring position. The crowd roared as Cuddyer grounded out to shortstop Omar Vizquel, ending the Twins' lone threat.

"When it's packed, you really feel them," Wedge said.

Torii Hunter repeatedly screamed an expletive in the clubhouse after the game. He said he was just letting off stress.

"I advise everybody to go home and do it," Hunter joked.

Despite his frustration, he complimented the Indians and their fans.

"This is one of my favorite ballparks," he said. "To see it filled up like the old days is cool. And they are playing like the old Indians, too."

Things weren't as cordial on the field.

After Martinez spun out of the way from a high inside pitch from Kyle Lohse in the third, the umpires had to restrain both managers after they stormed onto the field.

Gardenhire said Indians bench coach Buddy Bell and others in Cleveland dugout were screaming at his pitcher for throwing inside.

"I've got to go out and defend my player," Gardenhire said. "We can handle getting beat. But we're not going to let them do that."

Wedge acknowledged that someone in the dugout shouted out. He said he was surprised to see Gardenhire on the field.

"I don't know what he was so upset about," he said.

Lohse (5-10) allowed seven runs and seven hits in five innings, losing his second straight start. Shannon Stewart homered in the sixth for the Twins.

Jody Gerut made a diving catch in right field on Cuddyer's drive with a runner on second to end the game.

Game notes

Martinez has 82 RBI, one shy of Sandy Alomar Jr.'s team season record for a catcher. ... Gardenhire came out to complain in the seventh after Jones' fly ball hit off the yellow line on the outfield wall and was not ruled a home run. Wedge made the same argument on Blake's triple in the third. ... Vizquel is hitting .356 (57-for-160) over his last 41 games. ... C Henry Blanco, who is .071 (2-for-28) in his last 11 games, had a strike called against him by plate umpire Mike Everitt when he was standing outside the batter's box in the sixth.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press