Buscher homers, drives in 5 as Twins snap skid
CLEVELAND (AP)—After ending a five-game losing streak, the Minnesota Twins even enjoyed the simple task of congratulating each other on the field.
“We’re happy tonight,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We haven’t shaken hands in a week. It was a nice win for us.”
Buscher’s big game provided a boost for Scott Baker (7-3), who lasted five innings for the win.
On the other side, Fausto Carmona’s return to Cleveland’s rotation was a rocky one. The right-hander, who missed two months with a strained left hip, allowed nine runs in 2 1-3 innings.
“I was a little off,” Carmona said. “I felt like I was completely off with some of my pitches.”
The loss followed a busy day off the field for the Indians, who traded third baseman Casey Blake to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two minor leaguers. Cleveland, which abandoned hope of repeating as AL Central champions several weeks ago, dealt ace pitcher C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee on July 7.
The Twins’ outburst in the first was highlighted by Buscher’s homer, an inning in which Carmona (4-3) threw 40 pitches.
Carmona, who was 19-8 last season, hadn’t pitched since May 23 when he left a start against Texas with the hip injury. He walked the bases loaded in the first before giving up Jason Kubel’s RBI single and a two-run single by Delmon Young. Buscher homered to right on a 1-2 pitch with two outs.
The Twins finished off Carmona in the third. Mike Lamb doubled in a run and Buscher followed with a two-run single. Buscher is 4-for-7 in his career against Carmona.
“I think he was geared up,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “He was really rushing out there early on and had trouble gearing down. You know he is going to be better next time.”
Buscher, the No. 8 hitter, added an infield single in the ninth. Young, who bats sixth, also had three hits.
“It kind of took the pressure off, scoring six runs in the first,” Gardenhire said. “We need production up and down the lineup.”
Andy Marte, who will see the bulk of the playing time at third base with Blake gone, hit a solo homer in the fifth for Cleveland.
Baker was removed without retiring a batter in the sixth. He was pulled after Jhonny Peralta’s two-run single. The right-hander has won five of his last six decisions.
“It was one of those nights when you know what you’re doing wrong, but you can’t make the corrections,” Baker said. “I was trying to guide the ball. It was a constant battle. It worked out, but I would have liked to do better.”
Baker held Toronto to one run in eight innings in his last start, but got the loss in a 1-0 defeat.
“They all even out,” Baker said. “It’s just the way it is. You know guys are going to pick you up.”
LHP Aaron Laffey was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for Carmona. … In another deal, the Indians acquired RHP Anthony Reyes from St. Louis. He has been sent to Buffalo, but is expected to pitch for the Indians this season. … DH Travis Hafner (sore right shoulder) has been moved to the 60-day disabled list. The Indians hope he can return this season. … Twins OF Carlos Gomez didn’t play after bruising his lower back and tailbone when he crashed into the wall while making a catch Friday. He will likely miss Sunday’s game. … SS Nick Punto broke an 0-for-15 skid with a single in the eighth inning.