Indians 8, Twins 2
CLEVELAND (AP)—The young Cleveland Indians are handling their first pennant chase like a bunch of veterans.
Ben Broussard homered for the second straight night, Scott Elarton had his best start of the season and the poised Indians beat lackluster Minnesota 8-2 Friday night, moving within two games of the Central Division-leading Twins.
“They are a good team,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “But to say we are going to pack our bags and go home because we lost one game—I doubt it.”
Cleveland has won five straight and nine of 10, gaining six games on the Twins in nine days. Minnesota has lost seven of nine.
The Indians maintained before the game that they felt no added pressure as they played the first of 13 games remaining against the Twins. They proved it on the field.
“It was important for us to come out and get this first one tonight,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “We recognize who we’re playing and what time of year it is.”
The Indians scored five times in the first inning on Victor Martinez’s two-run double and Broussard’s three-run home run.
Broussard, who hit a pinch-hit grand slam Thursday, made his second curtain call in two nights. His 10th homer traveled 455 feet to center.
“I haven’t ever hit one out there,” he said.
Elarton (2-2) went seven innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk with four strikeouts. He was backed up by fine defensive plays from third baseman Casey Blake and right fielder Jody Gerut.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve pitched with a lead,” Elarton said.
He said the playoff atmosphere at Jacobs Field helped, too.
“It’s nice to pitch in games that mean something,” he said.
Carlos Silva (10-8) lasted just two innings, the shortest start of his career, allowing six runs on six hits and a walk.
“It was a tough night for me, that’s all,” Silva said. “Everything I threw, they were hitting.”
Minnesota had a number of mental miscues.
The Twins scored later in the inning on Henry Blanco’s RBI double.
“The baserunning mistake helped, it could have been a bigger inning,” Elarton said.
Blanco was charged with an error in the fourth when Lawton faked a steal of second. Blanco threw the ball, but no one was covering second and Lawton advanced. He scored on Omar Vizquel’s double for an 8-2 lead.
“That is not Minnesota Twins baseball,” Gardenhire said. “At least no one got hurt. That’s a good sign.”
Travis Hafner got his team leading 89th RBI on a double in the second. Vizquel had four of Cleveland’s 13 hits.
Jones hit his 19th home run in the fourth. Coco Crisp followed with his 10th homer in the bottom half.
The Indians are 22-3 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at Jacobs Field. … The Twins have won only four of 17 series when they don’t win the first game. … Silva entered the game 2-0 with a 3.28 ERA in his five previous starts. … Crisp extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games. … Broussard, who has two grand slams this week, batted with the bases loaded in the fourth and struck out swinging. … Crisp thought he had a second homer in the fifth and started clapping his hands as he rounded first, but the ball hit off the top of the right-field wall. He then scrambled to second for a double, just beating the throw.