Indians
Twins
4 - 0 Final
  for this game

Byrd, Hafner lift Indians over Twins

Aug 7, 2007 - 3:45 AM By Anthony Maggio PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) - Travis Hafner homered and Paul Byrd threw a complete-game shutout as the Cleveland Indians topped the Minnesota Twins, 4-0, on Monday.

Byrd (10-4) allowed four hits and threw his first complete game since doing so at Minnesota on August 17, 2006. It was his first shutout since July 1, 2005 at Kansas City.

Hafner shook off a 3-for-22 slump by hitting a solo homer to start the seventh inning and the Indians added two more in the eighth as they escaped Minnesota with a split of the four-game series and remained a half-game ahead of Detroit for first place in the American League Central.

"Hafner's home run was big for us, to take us from one to two runs," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "He's a great hitter and he knows what he's capable of doing. I really feel like he's going to lead us down the stretch here."

But it was Byrd who took the lead on Monday. After giving up 20 hits and six earned runs combined in his last two starts spanning 12 1/3 innings, Byrd was dominant in this one. He improved to 3-0 in three starts against the Twins this season with a 3.13 ERA and won for the third time in his last four outings.

Byrd said he started hitters with his changeup and curveball early in the game, a departure from his usual fastball-first approach. He was throwing all of his pitches for strikes, forcing the Twins to be aggressive at the plate. The result was a complete game in just 99 pitches.

"That's probably right up there with some other games I've pitched in my career," Byrd said. "We're in the thick of things. The hitters have been picking me up all year long and playing good defense behind me. It was really nice that I could give them the day off."

Byrd's only trouble came in the third inning, when Jason Kubel led off the frame with a double. Kubel advanced to third base on a deep fly ball, but Byrd induced Nick Punto's chopper back to the mound and Jason Tyner's ground ball to first to end the inning.

Minnesota managed a one-out single in the fifth and a leadoff walk in the seventh inning, but Torii Hunter was stranded in the fifth inning, and Byrd got the Twins' Nos. 3, 4 and 5 hitters each to pop up to end the inning.

"I usually run into a wall in the seventh, so when I walked (Joe) Mauer to lead off the seventh I wondered if this is it, here we go again," Byrd said. "I was able to get three fly balls so I knew it was my day then."

Byrd held a slumping Justin Morneau hitless in three at-bats despite the slugger entering the game with a .481 batting average and three career home runs against him in 27 at-bats. Morneau is currently in an 0-for-17 skid.

"When I got Morneau out for the second time in a row, I didn't remember ever doing that so I walked over to Casey and Victor and said, 'Hey, if you're not right with Jesus, get right with him, because he may be coming back. I just got Morneau out twice.'

"I'm used to seeing him stop at second base, not cut back across the infield."

Cleveland struggled to give its starter help early on, managing just a single in its first 10 at-bats. But Kenny Lofton singled and Victor Martinez walked to lead off the fourth inning against Twins starter Carlos Silva to start a rally.

Silva (9-12) got Hafner to ground into a double play, but Casey Blake singled to right in the next at-bat allowing Martinez to score from second base.

Silva retired the next seven hitters he faced before Hafner, who entered the game hitting .444 off Silva with no home runs, took him deep to right field.

Despite allowing just two earned runs for the second straight start, Silva lost for the second time in his last three outings. He gave up six hits and struck out six while walking one.

"Silva threw the ball very good for us, gave us the opportunity to win," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "When you get (four) hits and don't score any runs, you don't have a chance."

The Indians added insurance in the eighth inning with two singles and a walk off reliever Dennys Reyes.

Lofton's single had been a sacrifice bunt attempt, but Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla failed to cover first base in time.

Casilla recovered with a diving stop and throw home to get Grady Sizemore on Hafner's ground ball off Pat Neshek with the bases loaded, but Blake hit an RBI fielder's choice and Jhonny Peralta hit his third single of the game to plate Martinez.

Peralta recorded his first three-hit game since July 17, while Blake drove in two runs and Martinez scored twice for Cleveland.

Minnesota's first five hitters went 1-for-18 with a walk, and Kubel was the only Twin to get in scoring position.

"I don't think we're struggling, I think we're just running across good pitching," Hunter said. "(Fausto) Carmona and then look what Byrd did today. He's not a bad pitcher. He's smart."

The Twins were shut out for the 10th time this season. It was the second time Minnesota has been blanked by Cleveland and the sixth time it has failed to score in a game against an AL Central foe.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CLEVELAND 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 0 4 9 0
    MINNESOTA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CLE - PAUL BYRD AND KELLY SHOPPACH
    MIN - CARLOS SILVA, DENNYS REYES (8TH), PAT NESHEK
    (8TH), JUAN RINCON (9TH) AND JOE MAUER

    HOME RUNS: CLE - TRAVIS HAFNER (18) OF

    Aug 6 10:34 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JHONNY PERALTA SCORED VICTOR MARTINEZ.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J PERALTA ON FIRST, C BLAKE ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 4
    MINNESOTA 0 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: F GUTIERREZ (.298, 1-FOR-3)

    Indians vs. TwinsAug 6 10:06 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY CASEY BLAKE SCORED KENNY LOFTON.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C BLAKE ON FIRST, V MARTINEZ ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 3
    MINNESOTA 0 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: J PERALTA (.278, 2-FOR-3)

    Indians vs. TwinsAug 6 10:03 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY TRAVIS HAFNER (18) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF CARLOS SILVA.
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 2, MINNESOTA 0
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: C BLAKE (.268, 1-FOR-2, RBI)

    Indians vs. TwinsAug 6 9:31 PM


  • AL
    AT MINNESOTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY CASEY BLAKE SCORED VICTOR MARTINEZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C BLAKE ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 1
    MINNESOTA 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: J PERALTA (.277, 1-FOR-1)

    Indians vs. TwinsAug 6 8:59 PM
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    Indians vs. TwinsAug 6 1:15 PM
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    roots
    2buthy5 Added 5 roots

    Indians vs. TwinsJul 14 2:42 AM