CLEVELAND -- Indians manager Eric Wedge was fuming after watching his team struggle at the plate for the second straight night.
Kevin Slowey pitched eight sharp innings and Jason Kubel hit two solo homers, leading the Minnesota Twins to a 7-1 victory over Wedge's club on Saturday.Cleveland (6-12) has scored just two runs in the first two games of the weekend series."Our approach has been very poor," Wedge said. "It's something we pride ourselves on. We work hard at it. There's just no excuse, whether it's lack of discipline or concentration or confidence or whatever the hell it is, we better figure it out pretty damn quick because I'm not going to sit around and watch what we've been watching here."Slowey (3-0) carried a five-hit shutout into the ninth but allowed three singles to open the inning before departing with the bases loaded. Luis Ayala struck out Ben Francisco, but Kelly Shoppach singled in a run. Ayala then got Tony Graffanino to bounce into a game-ending double play.While Wedge was peeved about his team's performance, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was pleased to see another all-around effort, particularly from his starter."It all begins with starting pitching," Gardenhire said. "Good pitching gives you a chance to stay in the game and takes pressure off your offense."Slowey took a cue from Nick Blackburn, who kept the Indians off balance Friday by mixing in off-speed pitches with his fastball."Watching him gave me an idea of what I needed to do," Slowey said.Slowey struck out seven and didn't walk a batter in front of his parents and several family members and friends who made the drive from Pittsburgh.Kubel led Minnesota's 15-hit attack by homering in the fifth off Carl Pavano and again in the ninth off Masa Kobayashi."Kube can hit," Gardenhire said. "You can tell he's relaxed and he isn't pressing."Pavano (0-3) allowed five runs and 11 hits. He was pulled with the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth."Getting the loss and only going five innings and giving up five earned runs doesn't sit well with me at all," he said. "I haven't looked at the tape, but I'm assuming some of those balls got too much of the plate."Pavano, signed as a free agent in the offseason, failed for the fourth time to get his first win with Cleveland. The right-hander had runners on in every inning, throwing 86 pitches.Joe Crede hit a solo homer after Kubel's drive in the ninth, and Delmon Young finished with three hits.Justin Morneau continued his strong run at Progressive Field with two hits, including an RBI single in the first. The first baseman is batting .364 (16-for-44) with two homers and 13 RBIs in his last 11 games at Cleveland's home.Crede started the fourth with a single off the glove of third baseman Mark DeRosa and took third on Michael Cuddyer's double to left. Young and Mike Redmond had RBI singles to make it 3-0.Kubel homered with one out in the fifth and Denard Span had a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
C Joe Mauer (back) could return to the Twins as early as Tuesday. He caught seven innings and went 0-for-3 on a rehab assignment at Class A Fort Myers on Saturday night. Mauer is scheduled to DH on Sunday and then catch nine innings Monday. ... Gardenhire said OF Carlos Gomez will be back in the lineup Sunday after getting a couple of days off. ... Indians SS Jhonny Peralta, in an 0-for-19 slump, got a day off. ... Cleveland's starting pitchers are 4-9 with a 6.17 ERA.