Indians 7, Twins 1
CLEVELAND (AP)—It didn’t take long for C.C. Sabathia to put his worst start of the season behind him.
Sabathia, pitching five days after allowing six runs in a loss to Oakland, went eight sharp innings and Trot Nixon drove in three runs to lead the Cleveland Indians to a 7-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.
“I didn’t pitch well (in Oakland),” he said of his only loss. “I felt a lot better tonight. I was throwing all my pitches for strikes. Hopefully, I can keep it going.”
Sabathia (6-1) allowed five hits, struck out five, walked one and hit a batter. He retired the last 12 hitters he faced. Minnesota’s only run came on Nick Punto’s single in the second.
The Indians are 8-1 when the left-hander starts.
“C.C. was under control throughout,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “It was a very good ballgame for C.C.”
Sabathia said, “We’re playing well as a team right now and everyone is doing their jobs.”
While the Indians are 11-2 at Jacobs Field, the Twins (18-21) have lost six of seven.
“We’re not playing very well right now,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Twins starter Carlos Silva (2-4) allowed five runs in six innings and admitted the losing stretch is getting frustrating.
“It’s not early anymore,” he said. “In this division, if you don’t win now, it’s very tough to catch up.”
Nixon drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single in the fifth and added a sacrifice fly in the seventh. His single, which came with the Indians leading 3-1, dropped in front of a charging Torii Hunter in center.
“It was good to find a hole,” Nixon said. “It’s tough to find a hole with Torii roaming around out there. He can always make a diving catch at the last minute.”
Grady Sizemore, who has six hits in his last nine at-bats, scored three runs and stole two bases for Cleveland. He has been successful in all 14 of his steal attempts this season.
“I’ve been working hard to know situations and know what pitches and what counts to run on,” Sizemore said.
Travis Hafner drove in two runs for the Indians with a groundout in the first and a sacrifice fly in the third.
Silva has lost his last three starts with the Twins scoring one run in them.
“There’s nothing I can do about that,” he said. “I’ve got to pitch. They’re not going to swing the bats for me. We all have jobs to do.”
Sizemore started the first inning with a single and scored on Casey Blake’s double into the left field corner. Hafner’s groundout scored Blake.
Sizemore began the third with a walk, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Hafner’s sacrifice fly.
Sizemore’s single, a stolen base and walks to Hafner and Victor Martinez loaded the bases in the fifth before Nixon dropped in a single to left-center to score two runs.
“We had some good at-bats that inning,” Wedge said. “The walks really set up the big hit by Trot.”
Nixon added a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded and David Dellucci had an RBI single.
Jeff Cirillo walked in the second, went to second on Chris Henitz’s single and scored on Punto’s single.
Both teams were warned by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds after Sabathia hit Justin Morneau in the right shoulder in the fourth. Reynolds held separate discussions with Wedge and Gardenhire, who were both unhappy with the decision.
Following the game, the Twins said RHP Jesse Crain, who was placed on the DL Wednesday, has a torn rotator cuff and a torn labrum. He was examined by Twins doctors in Minneapolis and will seek a second opinion before the next step is determined. … C Mike Redmond, who had started all nine games since Joe Mauer (strained left quadriceps) went on the DL, wasn’t in the lineup Wednesday, despite the fact he has a nine-game hitting streak and is 7-for-14 lifetime against Sabathia. … Indians RHP Fernando Cabrera, who didn’t allow a run in 11 2-3 innings to begin the season, has allowed eight runs and 14 hits in his last 6 1-3 innings.