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Colabello powers Twins past Tribe

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- The Chris Colabello road show continued Sunday as the Minnesota Twins' designated hitter had another big day to lead the Twins to a 10-7 win over the Cleveland Indians.

Colabello had two hits and four RBIs and Joe Mauer had three hits as the Twins won two of three games in their series with the Indians.

The Indians collected 15 hits, including four by David Murphy and three by Michael Brantley. Jason Kipnis added three RBIs, but it wasn't enough for the Indians, whose starting pitching struggled in the series.

Colabello didn't struggle. His bases loaded double in the sixth inning drove in three runs and was one of the big hits of the game. The Twins went 3-3 in their season-opening trip to Chicago and Cleveland, and Colabello was a big part of their offense. He had a six-RBI game in Chicago and Sunday he drove in four more runs, raising his league-leading total to 11. He hit safely in all six games.

"You have to have guys on base to drive them in," Colabello said. "That's part of my role on this team. They're a result of opportunities. You try to take advantage of them."

"Coming into the spring he had a chance to go overseas and make some pretty good money," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He elected to stay here because he wanted to play in the big leagues. It's worked out for him. He's taken full advantage."

It was a tough day for both starting pitchers. Cleveland starter Justin Masterson gave up six runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings while Twins starter Ricky Nolasco gave up five runs on seven hits and four walks in four innings.

The Twins took a 2-0 lead in the second inning with one of the runs coming on an RBI single by catcher Kurt Suzuki. Cleveland tied the game in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run home run by Yan Gomes.

In the third, the Twins batted around and scored three runs on three hits in a rally that included two walks by Masterson. Brian Dozier led off the inning with a walk, went to third on a single by Mauer, and scored on a throwing error by catcher Gomes.

Trevor Plouffe and Jason Kubel added RBI singles later in the inning to give Minnesota a 5-2 lead. The Twins scored another run in the fourth inning when they knocked Masterson out of the game. Dozier again led off the inning with a walk, the second of his three walks in the game.

Masterson struck out the next two batters, but Colabello, the last hitter faced by Masterson, stroked a two-out RBI single to make the score 6-2.

"There weren't a lot of balls hit hard, but they made Justin throw a lot of pitches," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "He just wasn't commanding the ball like he normally does."

Masterson, who threw 97 pitches in three-plus innings, said it was just one of those days.

"I just couldn't find the (strike) zone very well, and it continued the whole time I was out there," he said.

Cleveland cut the Minnesota lead to 6-5 with a three-run fourth inning. Nolasco walked three and gave up two hits in the inning. The key hit was a three-run double into the left field corner by Kipnis.

The Indians tied the game at 6-6 in the fifth inning when Lonnie Chisenhall doubled and scored on a double by Murphy off reliever Anthony Swarzak, who gave up two runs on five hits in 1 1/3 innings, but still got the win. He is 1-0.

The Twins countered with three runs in the top of the sixth inning off Indians reliever Blake Wood. Wood, (0-1), who took the loss, walked two and hit a batter to load the bases with one out. Colabello unloaded them with a three-run double to left center, giving the Twins a 9-6 lead.

Michael Brantley's RBI single in the sixth inning cut the Twins' lead to 9-7. A sacrifice fly by Aaron Hicks in the ninth accounted for Minnesota's final run.

Notes: Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia remains sidelined with a sore right wrist. He will be examined by Twins doctors on Monday and hopes to play by Wednesday. If not, he could be a candidate for the DL. ... Josh Willingham left the game in the bottom of the second inning after getting hit in the left wrist by a pitch from Masterson. X-rays were negative and Willingham is listed as day-to-day. ... Indians outfielder Michael Bourn, on the DL with a strained hamstring, is expected to play two games on a minor league rehab assignment, and if he has no setbacks could be activated late in the week.

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