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