Garko lifts Indians with go-ahead hit for 2nd straight game

• Hero: Travis Hafner matched his career high with four hits. The native of nearby North Dakota who always hits well in Minnesota, Hafner has reached base in 23 of his last 33 plate appearances and has 16 hits in his last seven games.

• Turning point: Carlos Silva was on his way to another quality start until Casey Blake poked a single up the middle with two outs in the fifth, the first of five straight hits. After Hafner's single, Victor Martinez crushed a 1-2 pitch an estimated 440 feet.

• Figure this: The Twins' Torii Hunter hit his major league-leading 12th double in the second that also extended hitting streak to 10 games.

• Quotable: "They definitely got some upgrades." -- Nick Punto, one of four Twins who went hitless, on the Indians' improved bullpen

-- ESPN.com news services

Indians 7, Twins 3, 12 innings

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Cleveland's bullpen was a major problem last season, but the Indians now have some relievers they can rely on.

Ryan Garko drove in the go-ahead run for the second straight game, blooping a soft single in the 12th inning that sent the Indians to a 7-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Monday night.

Roberto Hernandez (2-1) threw two scoreless innings for the win after Aaron Fultz pitched a three-up, three-down eighth and Rafael Betancourt was perfect in the ninth and 10th.

"They definitely got some upgrades," said Nick Punto, one of four Twins who went hitless.

Cleveland's bullpen ranked 24th in the majors with a 4.66 ERA in 2006 and was last with a mere 24 saves. The Indians blew 23 saves on their way to a 78-84 finish, but they signed Hernandez, Fultz and closer Joe Borowski this winter in an effort to improve.

"When you bring in guys like Joe, Aaron and Roberto, those guys help a lot," Betancourt said. "Last year? I'm not going to say we didn't have a good bullpen, but right now we're in the situation where everybody knows when you're going to come in the game -- and you'll prepare yourself better."

Travis Hafner, who matched his career high with four hits, started the 12th with a walk against Jesse Crain (0-1). Jason Michaels followed Garko's hit with an RBI double, and Shin-Soo Choo added a two-run single off Joe Nathan with the bases loaded to break it open. It took the Twins seven batters to get an out in the inning.

"You always like to win the baseball game on a long night, but we just couldn't hold 'em any longer," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Victor Martinez's three-run homer in the fifth gave the Indians a 3-0 lead against Carlos Silva, who finished that inning and gave up seven hits and two walks while striking out six.

Torii Hunter's homer and Alexi Casilla's two-run double off Jeremy Sowers tied it at 3 with two outs in the seventh, though, to bring Minnesota right back.

The native of nearby North Dakota who always hits well at the Metrodome, Hafner kept up his torrid pace. He has reached base in 23 of his last 33 plate appearances and has 16 hits in his last seven games.

But excluding Martinez's big hit, the Indians again struggled to drive in runs until the 12th.

Martinez left three men on base in his first two at-bats, both inning-ending outs, and bounced into a double play after Hafner's single in the seventh. Garko struck out with the bases loaded against Pat Neshek to end the ninth after connecting on a 1-1 pitch that hooked foul by a few feet to the left of the pole.

Garko, whose three-run homer Sunday gave Cleveland a ninth-inning lead in a 6-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, came through in his next at-bat.

"He's a grinder," manager Eric Wedge said. "He gets in there and battles, and he doesn't give in."

Silva's night started auspiciously when he struck out the first batter, Grady Sizemore. The Indians outfielder entered with 17 hits in 32 previous at-bats against Silva, including seven for extra bases, and went 0-for-2 with a walk against the right-hander.

One of Minnesota's biggest concerns just three weeks ago, Silva has helped solidify the rotation with a strong April after a miserable 2006 season.

Martinez, however, made Silva pay for his only mistake by crushing a 1-2 fastball left over the plate an estimated 440 feet into the upper deck.

Silva hung his head and stormed around the mound in disgust. He was so mad that when plate umpire Lance Barksdale tossed him a new ball, he swatted at it and missed the catch.

"The bullpen did a really nice job, but we should've won the game three-nothing," said Silva, whose ERA is 2.74 after four starts.

Sowers bounced back from a bad start last week against the New York Yankees by taking a shutout into the seventh. But Hunter's home run ruined that, and the Twins quickly tied it with a two-out rally capped by Casilla's double.

Sowers finished that inning and gave up a total of nine hits and one walk with two strikeouts.

"I'm just glad our bullpen pitched lights out," Sowers said.

Game notes
Cleveland left-hander Cliff Lee, out with a strained right abdominal muscle suffered early in spring training, will make one more rehab start in the minors Friday before rejoining the rotation. ... Casilla started at second base for the fourth straight game in Luis Castillo's place. Castillo, who has a strained left quadriceps, is still day to day.