Twins 7, Indians 3
First baseman Justin Morneau—who put the Twins ahead for good with a sacrifice fly in a 7-3 victory Sunday—left the game after he was hit in the left hand by a pitch in the sixth inning.
He was taken to a hospital for X-rays, which were negative, and the team said he is day to day.
“When he came off the field, it didn’t look good,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
“I’ll ice it some more tonight and we’ll see how it feels (Monday),” Morneau said.
Corey Koskie homered and Torii Hunter had three hits, including a three-run double, for Minnesota. The first-place Twins, who led Cleveland by only a game last Sunday, took a seven-game lead in the AL Central.
The Indians have lost seven straight, including four to the Twins.
“They played well and took it to us,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “We need to clear our heads and get a fresh start at home.”
Brad Radke (9-6) allowed two unearned runs and seven hits in seven innings to win his fourth straight decision. He struck out four and walked one, and hasn’t lost since July 16—going 4-0 with three no-decisions in that span.
“We needed to play these guys tough,” Radke said. “They kind of got to us a little in Cleveland, and we gave them a little payback.”
C.C. Sabathia (9-8) gave up seven runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings, leaving after hitting Morneau.
“I’m disappointed in myself that I couldn’t get it done,” Sabathia said. “The definition of an ace is a guy who continues to win a game that the guys need. … I wasn’t that at all today.”
With the game tied at 2 in the fifth, Lew Ford walked on a full count with one out and Hunter singled to right to put runners on first and third. Morneau hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Ford with the go-ahead run.
Matthew LeCroy followed with an RBI single to make it 4-2.
The Twins led 4-2 in the sixth, when they loaded the bases with two outs against Sabathia. Hunter lined a double off the right-field wall, clearing the bases and making it 7-4.
“C.C. throws the ball 97 miles an hour,” Hunter said. “I was just trying to make something happen. I didn’t want to be the guy who struck out with the bases loaded.”
Hunter ran into the fence on Thursday night against the Yankees and had to leave the field on a cart. He sat out Friday night’s game against Cleveland, but returned Saturday and hit a solo homer.
Morneau, the next batter, was hit on the left hand by a pitch from Sabathia. Morneau walked to first base, where he was treated by a team trainer. He stayed on base until the inning ended, then was replaced defensively by Michael Cuddyer.
“I’m not saying it was intentional or anything,” Morneau said, “but he had a base open and a righty coming up (next).”
The Indians took a 2-0 lead in the second on a rally started by consecutive one-out singles by Ben Broussard and Casey Blake. One out later, a fielding error by shortstop Cristian Guzman allowed Broussard to score. Grady Sizemore followed with an RBI single.
Koskie’s homer, his 21st, tied it at 2 in the fourth.
Sizemore snapped an 0-for-17 slump with his RBI single. … Basestealers have stolen bases in 14 of 20 attempts with Sabathia on the mound. The Twins were 2-for-2 in steal attempts Sunday.