Bauer’s strong outing helps Indians beat Twins
MINNEAPOLIS -- Carlos Santana enjoys hitting in Minnesota’s Target Field.
The Cleveland Indians’ first baseman demonstrated why with another big performance on Thursday.
Santana had three hits, including a pair of RBI doubles, and Trevor Bauer had his best outing of the season for the Cleveland Indians in a 6-2 win over the Twins on Thursday afternoon.
In 61 games at Target Field, Santana has 38 RBIs and he has reached base safely in his last 14 games at the cozy outdoor park that opened in 2010.
“I like it,” Santana said. “I feel comfortable and I try to do what I can, but I feel comfortable for the park.”
Bauer (1-2) pitched 6 1/3 innings and struck out seven batters while allowing two runs on three hits and two walks. Abraham Almonte had two hits for Cleveland, which swept Minnesota in the three games of the series after Wednesday’s game was postponed.
Boone Logan, Bryan Shaw, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen combined for 2 2/3 innings of relief, allowing just one hit.
The Indians (8-7) had lost seven of their previous nine games heading into the series.
“I think Trevor deserves a lot of credit for keeping it where it was because if they spread that out a little bit, that’s a hard one to come back,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “Every run we got was meaningful because Trevor only gave up two and we stayed at it enough where we turned it over to the bullpen with a lead. That’s a good thing.”
Twins starter Ervin Santana went six innings before being relieved by Tyler Duffey (0-1) to start the seventh.
Duffey allowed two hits in one-third of an inning and both runners scored as Minnesota used three relievers to get through the seventh inning. Santana doubled off Taylor Rogers for the first run of the inning. Rogers and Matt Belisle each walked home a run with the bases loaded.
“You come in with runners on and it’s my job not to let them score,” Rogers said. “It’s also disappointing, but always think about things you could do differently when it’s over. Next time I’ll be able to execute a fastball in.”
The Twins wasted another strong start from Santana, who stretched his scoreless-innings streak to 22 innings before Santana doubled home Almonte in the fifth. Santana gave up four hits and three walks in six innings, and struck out five batters. The right-hander has a 0.64 ERA through four starts.
Max Kepler had two hits and scored a run for Minnesota, which scored both of its runs in the fourth against Bauer. Joe Mauer doubled to start the inning and later scored on a bases-loaded balk by Bauer. Kepler scored on Jorge Polanco’s sacrifice fly.
Bauer had allowed 10 runs in 10 2/3 innings in his first two starts of the season. But he was in control against the Twins. Mauer’s double was the first hit allowed by Bauer and he retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced.
“I seem to have an inning like that every start and the outcome of my start is kind of determined on how well I get through it and limit the damage,” Bauer said of limiting Minnesota in the fourth. “So, happy to get through with only two and the offense came back and scored one right away, which I think was really big.”
After their 6-3 start to the season, the Twins returned home and have lost five of their past six games. Minnesota manager Paul Molitor was ejected for the first time this season and fifth time in his managerial career after catcher Jason Castro struck out in the eighth on a check swing that was ruled a swing by home plate umpire Alan Porter.
“We didn’t contain there at the end,” Molitor said. “We’re not scoring enough. We’re having trouble putting runs on the board. But when you get a lead late, you want to try to find a way to win it. They got the comebacker that hit off Duffey and got the swinging bunt. Rogers came in, he was throwing the ball well, but Santana turned on one and changed the tide of the game.”
NOTES: Cleveland manager Terry Francona said “everything points” to 2B Jason Kipnis (shoulder) returning to the lineup during the weekend in Chicago. Kipnis took Thursday off after playing in rehab games this week. ... Minnesota used the same lineup and batting order for the second straight game, the first time this season manager Paul Molitor has penciled in the same look in more than one game. ... Twins 1B Joe Mauer had a double to lead off the fourth inning for his first extra-base hit of the season. ... Molitor said there has been no thought to sending CF Byron Buxton to Triple-A Rochester. Buxton was 0-for-2 with a strikeout on Thursday and is hitting .082 this season with 24 strikeouts in 49 at-bats. ... Cleveland will start RHP Corey Kluber (1-1, 6.38 ERA) on Friday against the White Sox. Minnesota hosts Detroit and will have LHP Hector Santiago (1-1, 1.47) on the mound.