Casilla, Twins top IndiansJul 21, 2011 - 3:42 AM
Joe Mauer raised his batting average to .297 on the campaign as he picked up a pair of hits and plated one, while Tsuyoshi Nishioka provided the margin of victory for the hosts with a two-run single in the bottom of the eighth for their second straight win.
Minnesota starter Nick Blackburn allowed four runs -- one earned -- on four hits, walking two and striking out seven over six innings. Matt Capps (3-5) logged just two outs but still notched the win for the hosts. Joe Nathan was awarded his sixth save of the campaign despite allowing a solo home run in the ninth.
"Today was the best I've felt in a long time," Blackburn said after the game. "Today was nice and easy, I felt like I did back a couple weeks ago...it was a good time to be out there, just to have that feeling again."
Cleveland reliever Tony Sipp (4-2) was tagged with the loss as he gave up three runs on just two hits in one-third of an inning of action. Josh Tomlin made it through at least five innings for the 32nd time to begin his career, but he was still touched for four runs on eight hits, striking out a pair over six innings.
Travis Hafner scored twice for the Indians, while Ezequiel Carrera, Asdrubal Cabrera and Lonnie Chisenhall both tallied a couple of hits.
Cleveland remained in a tie with Detroit for first place in the American League Central as the the Tigers lost to Oakland Wednesday night.
"It's always good to win four games of an eight-game stretch on the road," Tomlin said. "We would have like to take these last two games we played."
The Twins, now 6-4 in their last 10 games, are five games out of first in the division.
Hitless through the first three games of the series, Twins outfielder Ben Revere led off the bottom of the first inning with a single and came around to score on a double by Casilla. Mauer, playing first base instead of settling in behind the plate on the afternoon, brought in Casilla with a single to left to give the hosts a 2-0 advantage.
Blackburn, who retired eight in a row after allowing a leadoff single to Carrera, ran into trouble in the fourth as Carrera and Asdrubal Cabrera both singled and Hafner drew a walk to load the bases with no one out. After striking out Carlos Santana, Blackburn appeared to have a second out on the way when Matt LaPorta lifted a fly to left-center, but the wind forced Revere to retreat and he had the ball bounce off his glove, allowing a pair of runs to score.
Scored as a sacrifice fly and a fielding error, LaPorta ended up at second and Hafner on third. Orlando Cabrera stood in the batter's box for a total of 10 pitches before bringing in Hafner with a ground out to the left side of the infield. Chisenhall's second strikeout of the contest closed the frame and left the visitors with the one-run advantage.
The Twins responded immediately in the bottom of the inning when Michael Cuddyer singled to center and Jim Thome followed with an RBI double to center that eluded Carrera. Following a ground out by Danny Valencia, Delmon Young stepped to the plate and singled to center to bring Thome around and give Minnesota the lead once again at 4-3.
"Obviously when you drop two games you want to bounce back in it and our team showed a lot of resiliency and now we're back in it," Valencia commented on his team's moving up in the standings. "Doesn't surprise me where we're at right now, I'm happy where we're at, but we can definitely get better and the sky's the limit with our team really."
With one out in the top of the sixth, Hafner doubled to right and then advanced to third on a ground out by Santana. With LaPorta at bat, Minnesota catcher Drew Butera had a ball bounce by him all the way to the backstop, allowing Hafner to score on a close play at the plate and knot the score at 4-4.
Cleveland was on the warpath in the top of the seventh inning as well, as Orlando Cabrera and Chisenhall both singled off reliever Alex Burnett to begin the frame. Austin Kearns laid down a punt to the left side to advance the runners to second and third, sending Burnett to the dugout and forcing the Twins to bring in Jose Mijares.
Mijares got Luis Valbuena to foul out to first and then Carrera to ground out to second on a play where Mauer picked the ball off the bounce and ended the inning without any damage.
Cleveland moved Sipp out to the hill to begin the bottom of the eighth and he promptly gave up a ground-rule double to Casilla, who sliced the ball between Valbuena and Carrera in a near collision on the warning track.
Mauer picked up yet another hit in the series with a single to left, putting runners on the corners with no one out. After Cuddyer struck out, Thome worked a walk to load the bases.
Both teams then made a switch as Luke Hughes entered as a pinch-runner for Thome and Vinnie Pestano came on as the fourth pitcher of the day for the Indians.
A single by Valencia advanced all of the runners and brought in Casilla for the go-ahead run. Nishioka then laced a single through the hole on the left side with two outs, plating both Mauer and Hughes and again putting runners on the corners before the third out of the inning.
On for the save opportunity, Nathan induced a ground out by Orlando Cabrera before surrendering a towering solo home run by Chisenhall which reached the second deck beyond right field to cut the deficit to two runs. Nathan closed out the meeting by getting Kearns on another ground out and a fly out by Valbuena.
All four games of the series saw a heat index over 100 degrees...The Indians were without OF Michael Brantley for the second straight game due to illness...Mauer finished the series with nine hits in 15 at-bats and has now hit safely in six of his last nine games with a total of 15 hits during the stretch.
- CLEVELAND: 5
Jul 20 4:01 PM
- Lonnie Chisenhall one-out, solo Home Run (2) to right. Austin Kearns due up.
Indians 5, Twins 7 Top 9, 1 OutJul 20 3:58 PM
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka singled to left scored Joe Mauer and Luke Hughes with two out. On the play, Danny Valencia advances to third. Runners on first and third with Drew Butera due up.
Indians 4, Twins 7 Bot 8, 2 OutsJul 20 3:50 PM
- Danny Valencia singled to right scored Alexi Casilla with one out. On the play, Luke Hughes advances to second and Joe Mauer advances to third. Bases loaded and Delmon Young due up.
Indians 4, Twins 5 Bot 8, 1 OutJul 20 3:46 PM
- Travis Hafner scores on a Drew Butera passed ball with two out. None on and Matt LaPorta at the plate.
Indians 4, Twins 4 Top 6, 2 OutsJul 20 2:44 PM
- Delmon Young singled to center scored Jim Thome with one out. Runner on first and Tsuyoshi Nishioka due up.
Indians 3, Twins 4 Bot 4, 1 OutJul 20 2:18 PM
- Jim Thome doubled to left scored Michael Cuddyer with none out. Runner on second and Danny Valencia due up.
Indians 3, Twins 3 Bot 4, 0 OutsJul 20 2:15 PM
- Orlando Cabrera grounded out second to first scored Travis Hafner with two out. On the play, Matt LaPorta advances to third. Runner on third and Lonnie Chisenhall due up.
Indians 3, Twins 2 Top 4, 2 OutsJul 20 2:11 PM
- Matt LaPorta's sacrifice fly scored Ezequiel Carrera and Asdrubal Cabrera with one out. On the play, Travis Hafner advances to third and Matt LaPorta advances to second on Ben Revere's fielding error. Runners on second and third with Orlando Cabrera due up.
Indians 2, Twins 2 Top 4, 1 OutJul 20 2:08 PM
- Joe Mauer singled to right scored Alexi Casilla with none out. Runner on first and Michael Cuddyer due up.
Indians 0, Twins 2 Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 20 1:25 PM
- Alexi Casilla doubled to right scored Ben Revere with none out. Runner on second and Joe Mauer due up.
Indians 0, Twins 1 Bot 1, 0 OutsJul 20 1:23 PM
- CLEVELAND: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
Jul 20 1:10 PM
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