Series: Game 4 of 4

Minnesota won 3-1

Game 1: Thursday, September 14
Game 2: Friday, September 15
in 10
Game 3: Saturday, September 16
Game 4: Sunday, September 17

Twins 6

(88-61, 38-37 away)

Indians 1

(69-79, 38-36 home)

    1:05 PM ET, September 17, 2006

    Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio 

    123456789 R H E
    MIN 014000010 6 11 0
    CLE 100000000 1 8 2

    W: S. Baker (5-8)

    L: P. Byrd (9-8)

    S: M. Guerrier (1)

    Dazzling defense backs Baker, Twins keep pressure on

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- While trying to catch first-place Detroit, the Minnesota Twins are catching everything hit their way, too.

    Minnesota turned five double plays for the first time in 11 years and Scott Baker pitched six strong innings as the Twins beat the Cleveland Indians 6-1 Sunday to move within one game of the Tigers in the AL Central.

    "Guys made good plays behind me all day," Scott Baker (5-8) said after pitching six strong innings. "It gives you a lot of confidence knowing guys will make the plays."

    The Twins came in three games ahead of Chicago in the wild-card chase and won for the eighth time in 10 games. Minnesota is 41-21 since a 6-4 loss to Cleveland dropped the Twins 12 games back on July 13.

    Baker (5-8) finally put together a good outing against Cleveland, allowing one run and six hits. The right-hander came in 0-3 with a 6.64 ERA in four career starts against the Indians.

    "I can't tell you how good it feels to pitch well in this kind of situation," Baker said.

    Manager Ron Gardenhire said Baker has been a different pitcher in three September starts since returning from a one-month stay at Triple-A Rochester.

    "He made a lot of good pitches to get double plays," Gardenhire said. "That's the one thing we've been preaching to him, If you pitch to contact, we'll catch it. We're good at that. We made a lot of good plays in the infield."

    Matt Guerrier pitched the final three innings for his first career save. Kevin Kouzmanoff grounded into his second double play of the game to end it.

    The last time Minnesota made five double plays in a game was June 3, 1995, against Texas.

    Jason Tyner had three hits while Torii Hunter and Phil Nevin each drove in two runs to help Minnesota improve to 20-7 on the road since opening the season 9-24 away from the Metrodome. The Twins are 3-1 on their final trip of the season, which concludes with three games each at Boston and Baltimore.

    "We know what's at hand," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "If you can't get read to play in Boston, you can't play anywhere. It's a great atmosphere."

    Hunter is keeping the Twins' situation in perspective, too.

    "I'm a realist," he said. "Were not going to win 13 in a row. We're going to lose some games. I'm only thinking about Tuesday in Boston."

    Cleveland has lost 10 of 14 since designated hitter Travis Hafner was lost for the season with a broken right hand on Sept. 2. The Indians made three errors and a misplayed a couple of other situations.

    "Go ask them if you think they should make plays," manager Eric Wedge said of his young team. "I'm not pleased and it will be addressed."

    Hunter's two-run single with the bases loaded broke a 1-1 tie in the third against Paul Byrd (9-8). Left fielder Franklin Gutierrez's throwing error on the play allowed the runners to advance, and two more runs scored when Nevin followed with a grounder off third baseman Andy Marte's glove that was ruled a single.

    "That play should be made," Wedge said. "You saw Minnesota play defense."

    The Indians, who totaled only 16 runs in a 1-5 homestand against the Twins and Kansas City Royals, took a 1-0 lead before making an out. Grady Sizemore walked, took second on a single by Hector Luna and scored on Casey Blake's single.

    The Twins tied it with an unearned run in the second. With two outs, Hunter reached when first baseman Ryan Garko couldn't handle a throw for an error. Nevin singled and Tyner's single evened it.

    Byrd allowed four earned runs and eight hits over six innings, walking four and striking out three. He has not issued a walk in 12 of 29 starts.

    Nick Punto drove in the final run with a sacrifice fly off Matt Miller in the eighth.

    Game notes

    Cleveland also hit into five double plays in Anaheim on July 19. ... The Twins batted .303 (46-for-152) and scored 23 runs in the series, but also stranded 46 baserunners in four games. ... Hunter drove in seven runs in the four-game series. ... Luna is 20-for-61 (.328) in his last 16 games. ... Tyner has hit .361 (30-for-83) with 10 RBI in his last 24 games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press