MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Terry Mulholland was too smart for Cleveland.
The 41-year-old left-hander pitched six strong innings and shut
down the Indians for the second time in a week, leading the
Minnesota Twins to an 8-1 victory Saturday.
"He's amazing," teammate Justin Morneau said. "It just shows
his experience and how he can pick up hitters' tendencies and use
it against them."
Morneau and Torii Hunter hit consecutive homers for the
first-place Twins, who opened a six-game lead over Cleveland in the
Mulholland yielded one earned run in eight innings at Jacobs
Field last Sunday, when Minnesota snapped the Indians' six-game
winning streak with a 4-2 victory in 10 innings.
Cleveland, which pulled within a game of the Twins last
Saturday, has lost six straight since. The Indians have been
outscored 43-12 during their skid, and Minnesota has won five of
six during that span.
"Going back-to-back against any team is pretty tough," Twins
manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That got us feeling pretty good and
that's what this game's all about."
This time, Mulholland (4-6) allowed just one run and seven hits,
striking out four and walking two.
"I tried to mix it up and take what I did in Cleveland last
week and build on it," he said. "I made some adjustments and
threw pitches in a different order."
In their past six games, Twins starters are 4-0 with a 2.93 ERA.
"We had better at-bats against him, but the result wasn't much
different," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "We're still in
this thing. We've proven that just by what we did over a week's
Cristian Guzman drove in three runs for the Twins, and Corey
Koskie led off the eighth with his 20th homer. Koskie has a
nine-game hitting streak, going 14-for-34 (.412) with five homers.
Chad Durbin (5-5), who had not allowed a run in 14 innings
coming in, gave up six runs -- five earned -- in 4 1-3 innings. He
lost for the first time since returning from the minors on July 24.
"Maybe we are pressing a little bit, but if we continue to
press, the losses are going to continue to pile up," Cleveland's
Matt Lawton said. "We've got to figure out a way to try to relax
ourselves and try not to let this thing snowball."
Josh Phelps homered off Mulholland with two outs in the second
inning to give the Indians a 1-0 lead. It was Phelps' 13th home
But Minnesota came right back with an unearned run in the bottom
half. Hunter reached on third baseman Casey Blake's error, stole
second on the next pitch and moved to third on Koskie's flyout.
Guzman drove him in with a sacrifice fly to left.
Morneau hit Durbin's first pitch of the fourth inning 417 feet
to right field for his 12th homer of the year. Hunter followed with
a 415-foot shot to left, his 16th, to make it 3-1. It was the sixth
time this season the Twins have hit back-to-back home runs.
Minnesota put the game away with four runs in the fifth when Lew
Ford and Guzman each hit a two-run single. Jesse Crain finished
with two scoreless innings of relief for the Twins.
Hunter, who missed Friday night's game with a strained neck,
made a perfect throw on a fly from center field to third base in
the third inning to cut down Ronnie Belliard trying to advance from
first on Omar Vizquel's single.
Koskie was spiked in the left arm on the play and was tended to
by trainers after the game but should be fine, according to
Hunter hurt his neck Thursday against the Yankees when he
crashed into the outfield wall trying to make a running catch. ...
Over the next 14 games the Indians will play two AL division
leaders (Yankees, Twins), plus the playoff-contending Angels. ...
Durbin dropped to 1-2 with a 6.14 ERA in four games against the
Twins this season.