CLEVELAND (AP)—Hit hard by injuries, the Cleveland Indians decided to battle back—harder.
Even with five key players from last year’s AL Central champion team on the disabled list, the Indians had 18 hits including homers by Shin-Soo Choo and Grady Sizemore off Livan Hernandez (6-4) and four relievers.
“It says a lot about our guys,” manager Eric Wedge said. “They have strong character, are feisty, and find a way to win ballgames. It was good to see clutch hitting up and down the lineup.”
Martinez is scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow Friday and will be out at least six weeks. Barfield will have his strained left middle finger tendon examined by a hand specialist Monday.
Already out are right-handers Jake Westbrook and Fausto Carmona and designated hitter Travis Hafner. Westbrook had season-ending reconstructive surgery on his right elbow performed Thursday by Dr. Lewis Yocum in California. Carmona (strained left hip) and Hafner (sore right shoulder) are expected back later this month.
“It’s a challenge,” Wedge said, “but we won’t give in to the fight. I really believe good things can still happen (this season).”
Francisco agreed, after going 4-for-5 with three RBIs to snap a 2-for-26 (.077) slide.
“It’s tougher without those guys, but we feel confident we can win games and hopefully get Vic and ‘Haf’ back,” Francisco said.
Aaron Laffey (4-3), called up from Triple-A Buffalo when injuries hit Cleveland’s starting staff, allowed one run and six hits over six innings. The left-hander walked one, struck out four and lowered his ERA to 2.83 in nine starts. He is 4-2 with a 1.40 ERA in six home starts.
Kelly Shoppach, starting in place of Martinez, had a pair of RBI singles. Second baseman Carroll went 4-for-4 with an RBI and was 8-for-9 in the three-game series.
“It felt good to help pick up the team,” said Carroll, normally a utility infielder through his eight-year career.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time and know you have to prepare for anything,” Carroll said. “There’s crazy things about baseball, so you just keep plugging away and hope good things will happen.”
Jhonny Peralta had a two-run single in the third inning off Hernandez and Choo followed by hitting a 1-0 pitch over the right-field wall for a 6-0 lead. Choo is hitting .323 (10-for-31) with two homers and eight RBIs in 11 games since being activated May 30. He had elbow surgery last September.
Grady Sizemore opened the fourth with his 14th homer—and sixth in his past 13 games—for a 7-0 lead.
“Livan just didn’t have it,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He was up. They hit everything he threw.”
Matt Macri hit his first career homer in the fifth for Minnesota, which has lost seven of eight.
Hernandez finally faced the Indians in the regular season in his 366th career appearance. The 33-year-old right-hander already had achieved the ultimate against Cleveland as a rookie, winning World Series MVP honors by going 2-0 in the 1997 World Series for the Florida Marlins in a seven-game triumph over the Indians.
Hernandez gave up seven runs and 12 hits over three innings, dropping to 0-3 with a 9.38 ERA in his past six starts since beating Boston on May 12.
“I missed so many pitches,” Hernandez said. “I made too many mistakes. It was ridiculous.
“I’m trying. If someone is mad I’m not doing my job, I’m sorry. I know it will get better.”
The Twins are expected to call up 3B Brian Buscher from Triple-A Rochester on Friday. RHP Juan Rincon was offered an outright assignment to Rochester. … Sizemore has hit .342 (13-for-38) with three homers and six RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak. … Twins 1B Justin Morneau went 3-for-3 off Laffey and is 5-for-7 with three RBIs in his career against the lefty. … Twins 2B Alexi Casilla went 0-for-3, ending his hitting streak at 13 games. Twins OF Carlos Gomez was 0-for-4, snapping his 12-game streak.