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Twins handcuff Indians again in 4-1 win

Twins handcuff Indians again in 4-1 win
Published On: Sat, May 13
Jun 12, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins outfielder Max Kepler (26) hits a three run walk off home run in the eleventh inning against the Boston Red Sox at Target Field. It was his first major league home run. The Twins won 7-4 in 10 innings. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND -- This was the Jose Berrios that Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor was hoping to see.

"You've got to be excited about a performance like that," Molitor said.

Berrios pitched 7 2/3 strong innings, combining with two relievers to give up three hits, and Max Kepler homered as the Twins beat the Cleveland Indians 4-1 on Saturday at Progressive Field.

"He threw strikes, worked ahead in the count and attacked the hitters with a good fastball," Molitor said of Berrios, who was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to make the start.

The streaking Twins have won four in a row and 11 of their last 15 games to move into first place in the American League Central. The slumping defending AL champion Indians have lost three in a row and seven of their last 11 and continue to have trouble scoring runs.

Cleveland has scored one run in its last 24 innings. The Indians snapped a streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings when Carlos Santana scored from third on a wild pitch in the third inning, accounting for Cleveland's only run.

Berrios (1-0) gave up one run and two hits, striking out four with one walk. Brandon Kintzler pitched the ninth inning to pick up his 10th save.

"I was challenging hitters with my fastball in, then went to my secondary pitches," Berrios said. "I was able to throw strikes with all my pitches."

In winning the first two games of the series, Twins pitchers have held Indians' hitters to one run and six hits in 18 innings.

The Indians have been held to three or fewer hits in consecutive games against the same opponent for the first time in 25 years.

"I think everybody's a little frustrated," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I know these guys are going to be OK. The best way I know to turn it around is to remember all the things we believe in. Because it's not a given that you'll get hot tomorrow. But if you kind of go back to basics and show up and try to be one run better, things have a way of working out."

The Twins benefited from the wildness of Indians starter Mike Clevinger (1-1), making his second start in place of injured Corey Kluber. In 4 1/3 innings, Clevinger walked five, threw two wild pitches and had a throwing error.

Most of that wildness came in a three-run Minnesota fourth inning. With Cleveland leading 1-0, Clevinger walked the first two batters in the inning, Robbie Grossman and Miguel Sano.

Joe Mauer laid down a bunt that Clevinger fielded and threw wildly to first base for an error, allowing Grossman to score, with Sano going to third and Mauer to second.

Sano scored on a groundout by Kennys Vargas, giving the Twins a 2-1 lead. Mauer later scored on a two-out single by Jorge Polanco, making it 3-1.

"Robbie had a real good at-bat. We had good base running in that inning, and Mauer's bunt forced them to make a play," Molitor said. "The biggest play of the game was a well-placed bunt."

Kepler belted a solo home run off reliever Dan Otero in the sixth inning that boosted the Minnesota lead to 4-1. Kepler's blast extended the Twins' streak of having homered in 14 consecutive games, their longest such streak in 29 years.

The Indians scored their only run in the third. With two outs and nobody on, Carlos Santana hit a long drive to center field. Byron Buxton reached over the fence and had the ball in his glove, but when Buxton collided with the wall, the ball flew back into fair territory. It went as a triple for Santana, who then scored on a wild pitch.

Berrios ended that inning by striking out Michael Brantley, the first out in a streak in which Berrios retired 13 batters in a row.

"That was the best fastball command I had in the game," Berrios said of that streak.

NOTES: Twins RHP Ervin Santana has allowed one or fewer runs in seven of his eight starts. The Twins have two shutouts this season, both of them games started by Santana. ... Twins 1B Joe Mauer scored a run in the fourth inning. It's the 900th run of Mauer's career. He needs four more to pass Kent Hrbek (903) for fourth place on the franchise list. Kirby Puckett holds the Twins record for runs scored with 1,071. ... Indians C Yan Gomes, who hit .176 in April, is batting .375 (9-24) in May. ... The Indians' 1-0 loss on Friday marked the sixth consecutive series in which they lost the first game. The last time the won the first game of a series was April 21 vs. the White Sox.

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Yonder Alonso 1B
Rajai Davis CF
Edwin Encarnacion DH
Lonnie Chisenhall RF
Michael Brantley LF
Carlos Carrasco SP
Corey Kluber SP
Melky Cabrera CF
Zach McAllister RP
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