Final

Series: Game 2 of 3

Minnesota leads 2-0 (as of 7/5)

Game 1: Friday, July 4
Cleveland3Final
Minnesota12
Game 2: Saturday, July 5
Cleveland6Final
Minnesota9
Game 3: Sunday, July 6
Cleveland3Final
Minnesota4

Indians 6

(37-50, 15-28 away)

Twins 9

(49-38, 31-18 home)

7:10 PM ET, July 5, 2008

Mall of America Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

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CLE 050000100 6 8 0
MIN 20011500 - 9 8 0

W: K. Slowey (6-6)

L: T. Mastny (0-2)

S: J. Nathan (24)

Twins lift Slowey, rally past Tribe with five runs in sixth inning

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Kevin Slowey walked off the mound and went straight for the computers set up in a cranny behind the dugout.

Fast Facts

• The Twins have now won four straight games and 15 of their last 17.

• Minnesota starter Kevin Slowey improved to 4-0 in his last four decisions.

• Grady Sizemore hit career homer No. 100 in the Indians' loss.

-- ESPN.com

Video of a five-run second inning provided visual evidence of what his brain, his pitching coach and his catcher were telling him about a rushed delivery. Problem solved, and the Minnesota Twins came back.

Meanwhile, the Cleveland Indians are having a much harder time overcoming their mistakes.

Joe Mauer homered, walked three times and scored three runs to help Slowey and the streaking Twins rally past Indians 9-6 on Saturday night.

"We've been playing good enough to know we can get back in the thing if we can just stay after it and get some pitching," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's a lot of fun, a lot of fun to watch."

Craig Monroe and Alexi Casilla hit two-run doubles, and the Twins rebounded from the Indians' five-run second inning by scoring five times in the sixth.

"We're swinging so well and playing such great defense that if you can give our guys a chance, just a chance, that's all they need to get the job done," said Slowey (6-6), who settled down and struck out six over six innings with only five hits allowed.

Grady Sizemore's three-run homer, his league-leading 22nd, was the lone highlight for last-place Cleveland, which lost its seventh straight amid speculation that ace C.C. Sabathia will be dealt before the trade deadline on July 31.

"It's tough. Obviously we're not playing our best," Sizemore said. "Guys are playing hard. We're just not finding ways to win."

One win away from the World Series in October, the Indians now have the second-worst record in the league.

"You can't think about that now, 'cause we're here," Sizemore said. "You can't be frustrated with the way things started because of the success last year. You have to move forward and find a way to make this year positive."

Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth for his 24th save in 26 attempts, and Minnesota improved to 17/3 since June 13. During the surge, fueled largely by their young rotation, Slowey has pitched the best of all.

He was 3-0 with an 0.93 ERA and only two walks in his last four starts, and the right-hander carried that momentum into the first by retiring three straight after Sizemore started with a triple that took a wicked bounce over left fielder Delmon Young's head.

Then came the second inning, though, when he walked the leadoff man, Shin-Soo Choo, and did the same three batters later with Kelly Shoppach. In 12 previous starts, Slowey walked only nine. Both Choo and Shoppach later scored.

David Dellucci had an RBI double, Andy Marte drove in a run with a single, and Sizemore capped the scoring with the 100th homer of his four-year career to give Cleveland a 5-2 edge.

Meanwhile, Minnesota was whittling away at the lead against Aaron Laffey, who has only one win in his last seven starts after giving up five hits and four walks in five innings. Denard Span drove in Nick Punto with a single in the fourth. Mauer clobbered a 3-1 pitch to start the fifth and cut it to 5-4.

"Everybody was still calm. Nobody was hanging their heads. It seemed like everybody knew something good was going to happen," said Span, 5-for-13 with four runs scored since his recall from Triple-A Rochester.

Tom Mastny (0-2) entered in the sixth and surrendered the lead. Span began the rally with a one-out walk, but Carlos Gomez ignited it with another one of his bunt hits -- he leads the majors with 21 -- to put two runners on for Casilla.

Mastny moved left and fielded the ball cleanly, but fumbled it for a bit and had to wait for Casey Blake to get to first base. The throw was a split-second late.

Three batters after his go-ahead double, after Rafael Perez relieved, Casilla trotted home on a wild pitch that bounced in the dirt, glanced off the catcher Shoppach's shoulder, and sailed backward into the seats. Brendan Harris finished the frenzy with a two-run single.

It was that kind of night for the Indians, who have been experiencing these kind of nights far more often this year than they expected. Their bullpen fell to 8-17, with a 5.16 ERA and 101 walks in 232 innings.

"Nobody's happy right now. Our team is struggling," Mastny said. "When you've got a lead, it's our job to keep it."

Game notes


After 37 starts at 2B and 36 at SS, Harris played 3B for Minnesota. "He says he has it in his bag of tricks, so good enough for me," manager Ron Gardenhire said. ... RHP Fausto Carmona, one of a handful of Cleveland's injured standouts, was scheduled to throw a bullpen session before Sunday's game. He won't return until after the All-Star break because of a strained left hip that has kept him out since late May. ... Attendance was announced at 31,887; the Twins gave 5,028 of those tickets to military members and their families.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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