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Laffey now 2-0 with help from Sipp; Twins miss out on rare sweep at Cleveland

CLEVELAND -- Aaron Laffey and Tony Sipp used to talk about pitching for the Cleveland Indians when they were roommates at Triple-A Columbus this year. The scenario was Laffey would start and Sipp would close out a victory.

Sunday didn't play out exactly how they planned, but it was still very satisfying.

Laffey pitched into the seventh inning and Sipp came up with two big strikeouts, helping Cleveland beat the Minnesota Twins 4-2 and avoid a three-game sweep.

"It was great to have that moment and be able to tell him 'Welcome to the big leagues,'" Laffey said.

Laffey (2-0) allowed two runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. Laffey, who began the year at Columbus, has been the Indians' most consistent starter. He has a 2.41 ERA in three starts since being recalled on April 15.

The Indians were held to one run in each of the first two games of the series, but Ryan Garko's two-run single off Glen Perkins (1-2) in the third gave them a 4-0 lead.

"I like being in those spots," Garko said. "Those are spots where games are won or lost."

It was the shortest outing of the year for Perkins, who allowed four runs in five innings. Perkins had lasted eight innings in each of his first three starts, never allowing more than two runs.

"He had a little bit of a rough time early," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He had the one bad inning. He got us through five and I thought our bullpen did a very good job."

Laffey left after Minnesota loaded the bases with one out in the seventh. Jensen Lewis surrendered pinch-hitter Denard Span's two-run single and walked Brendan Harris before manager Eric Wedge brought in Sipp to face lefty sluggers Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel.

Morneau entered the day hitting .364 over his last 10 games at Progressive Field, and Kubel homered twice Saturday night. But Sipp, making just his second career appearance, struck out both to preserve Cleveland's 4-2 lead.

"That was definitely a pressure situation," Sipp said. "I just wanted to throw strikes, because that's one thing I know how to do."

Sipp was recalled on Wednesday and made his major league debut that night with a scoreless inning.

Kerry Wood pitched the ninth for his fourth save in four chances.

The slumping Indians entered the day batting .220 and had 18 runs in six games since scoring 22 at Yankee Stadium on April 18. Wedge ripped his hitters' approach following Saturday's 7-1 loss, and wasn't much happier on Sunday.

"Garko had the big hit for us, but we still have to do better than what we saw today," Wedge said. "We scored four runs, but we had the opportunity to do a lot more than that."

Mark DeRosa was thrown out by Twins catcher Jose Morales trying to steal second in the sixth inning. With All-Star catcher Joe Mauer on the disabled list, it was the first time this season a Twins catcher has thrown out a runner trying to steal. Not counting pickoffs by pitchers, opposing baserunners opened the season 19-for-19 against Twins catchers.

The Twins were trying to sweep the Indians in Cleveland for the first time since 1991.

Game notes
Morales went 4-for-4 for the first four-hit game of his career. ... Mauer experienced routine soreness after catching on consecutive days Friday and Saturday. There was a thought he could return to the Twins' lineup on Tuesday, but now that has likely been pushed back until Friday. ... Cleveland SS Jhonny Peralta's eighth-inning single snapped an 0-for-22 slump ... 2B Asdrubal Cabrera's walk in the first inning was the first by an Indians hitter since Peralta did it in the ninth inning Wednesday against Kansas City.