Twins 4, Indians 1

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CLEVELAND (AP)—Heads bobbed to the thumping beat of some ’80s dance music as Minnesota’s players dug into their postgame dinners. One night after a stomach-gnawing loss slowed their September push to play in October, the Twins rebounded.

It’s what they do best.

“One of the great things about this team,” backup catcher Mike Redmond said, “is we always bounce back.”

Carlos Silva put Minnesota’s postseason pursuit back in gear, pitching seven strong innings to outduel C.C. Sabathia and Redmond, starting at catcher in place of Joe Mauer, had three RBIs in the Twins’ 4-1 win over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night.

Silva (10-13) allowed a run in the first before shutting out Cleveland on three hits over the next six as the Twins remained two games behind the first-place Detroit Tigers in the AL Central.

Minnesota, though, increased its lead for the wild card to three games over Chicago, which lost to Oakland 7-4.

Silva, who began the season 2-8, gave up five singles, struck out two and walked one. It was the third straight solid outing for the right-hander, who credits a recent pep talk from Mauer and Redmond for his turnaround.

“They said, ‘We need you now,”’ Silva recalled. “That conversation felt good because it showed me they are with me.”

Dennys Reyes and Juan Rincon worked through the eighth, and Joe Nathan closed out the combined six-hitter for his 33rd save in 35 attempts.

Redmond had a run-scoring groundout in the third, an RBI double in the fifth and he added an insurance run with a single in the ninth.

It’s not easy to fill in for one of baseball’s best hitters—Mauer is batting .344—but Redmond did more than an adequate job and was pleased manager Ron Gardenhire gave him the chance.

“I love that Gardy has the confidence to put me in there,” he said. “I stick to my gameplan. I want to win and get back to the playoffs.”

Torii Hunter homered and Luis Castillo had three hits as the Twins won for the seventh time in nine games.

Sabathia (11-10) leads the majors with six complete games, but he lasted seven innings and dropped to 1-3 in four starts against the Twins this season. Sabathia allowed three runs and 10 hits, two to Redmond who is batting .500 (7-for-14) off him.

“If he hit against me all the time, he’d be in the Hall of Fame,” Sabathia said. “Same thing with Torii Hunter. If I make a mistake, he makes me pay.”

Cleveland’s starting lineup came in with a combined .429 career average against Silva, but the Indians rarely had the right-hander in trouble and he pitched his way out of the few troublesome spots.

The Indians loaded the bases with two outs in the third on a single, walk and hit batter, but Silva got Casey Blake to bounce into an inning-ending force.

In the fourth, Silva helped himself with a nice defensive play. After Aaron Boone singled leading off, Joe Inglett blistered a line drive through the middle that Silva somehow snagged with his glove.

Silva dropped it while transferring the ball to his hand, but quickly fired to first to double off Boone.

Silva also showed the Twins some toughness by pitching through some pain in his left ankle, the result of landing in a hole on the mound made by Sabathia. On Sept. 6, Silva raised some eyebrows when he removed himself from a game in Tampa Bay with an upset stomach.

“I don’t think Carlos was going to say anything about his ankle unless there was a bone sticking out,” Gardenhire said.

Hunter’s 26th homer gave the Twins a 2-1 lead in the fourth, and the Twins made it 3-1 in the fifth on Redmond’s double.

Notes

Sizemore went 2-for-3 against Silva to raise his career average to .549 (17-for-31) against him. … The lineup card posted by the Twins on their clubhouse wall had Indians rookie Kevin Kouzmanoff’s named misspelled—badly. To the, he was Kauzamouff. … Players killed time before the game by watching college football as TVs in both rooms were tuned to pigskin action. During batting practice, the Jake’s jumbo scoreboard switched back between the LSU-Auburn and Notre Dame-Michigan telecasts. … Two of Castillo’s singles were infield hits, giving him an AL-leading 45. … Minnesota’s 5-4 loss on Friday snapped a 24-game winning streak for the Twins in games where they score at least four runs. … Silva induced a major league-leading 34 double plays last season, compared to just 17 this year.

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