CLEVELAND -- It's been a while between drinks of water for Scott Kazmir, so Friday night he took a big gulp. Kazmir pitched seven strong innings to pick up his first win since May 30 and only his second since May 9 as the Cleveland Indians beat the Minnesota Twins 5-1.
Kazmir, who had a record of 0-2 and a 7.98 ERA in three starts in June prior to Friday, held the Twins to one run on five hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter as he evened his record at 4-4.
"He was frustrated with his last three starts, but we told him we're in this for the long run," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "Thinking that he would go all year without a hiccup, that's not realistic."
The only run allowed by Kazmir was a home run by Brian Dozier leading off the sixth inning. He held Minnesota scoreless on four hits over the other six innings he pitched.
"My last three or four starts I felt so good I wanted to just throw the ball by people," said Kazmir. "I tried to be more under control tonight."
Cleveland broke open a close game with a three-run seventh inning.
With the Indians leading 2-1, Mark Reynolds led off with a single. He went to second on a walk by Lonnie Chisenhall. Josh Roenicke relieved Minnesota starter Samuel Deduno and got Yan Gomes to fly out, with Reynolds advancing to third. Drew Stubbs followed with a single that scored Reynolds to give Cleveland a 3-1 lead.
Michael Bourn reached on a fielder's choice grounder, with Stubbs being forced out at second. Mike Aviles drew a walk, loading the bases, and the left-handed hitting Jason Kipnis, facing left-handed reliever Brian Duensing, muscled a pitch into shallow left field for a single, scoring John McDonald, pinch running for Chisenhall, and Bourn to make it 5-1.
Kipnis also had a sacrifice fly in the third inning.
Relievers Joe Smith and Vinnie Pestano pitched the last two innings for the Indians, who extended their winning streak to three games while snapping Minnesota's three-game winning streak.
The loss went to Deduno (3-2), who gave up four runs and six hits in six innings. He struck out a season-high six and walked two.
"I'm not happy we lost the game but I'm happy with what I've been doing," Deduno said. "I was feeling pretty strong and was throwing the ball good."
Kazmir, who a year ago was pitching for an independent minor-league team in Sugarland, Tex., said he didn't feel he had pitched as poorly in his last three starts as his numbers reflected.
"I felt that the last one was the only rough one," he said. "I realize there are going to be some ups and downs for me this year but it bothers me because I'm such a competitor. You want to be successful every time out."
Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said the makeup of the Twins lineup may have helped the left-handed Kazmir.
"We've got a lot of lefties in our lineup," Gardenhire said. "If you have command of your pitches you can sometimes get to us a little bit. We've hit lefties and we've got good hitters but he did a really nice job."
The Indians went down in order in the first inning but scored single runs in the next two innings against Deduno. With one out in the second, Brantley doubled into the gap in right-center field and scored on a single by Reynolds.
Stubbs led off the bottom of the third with a walk and went to third on a single by Bourn. Kipnis popped out to second baseman Dozier, who caught the ball running away from the infield, then dropped it when transferring it to his throwing hand. The speedy Stubbs scored on the play, which was ruled a sacrifice fly, giving Cleveland a 2-0 lead.
"That was an unbelievable piece of base running by Stubbs," said Francona. "He had no business scoring there."
NOTES: Indians closer Chris Perez is scheduled to pitch a simulated game Sunday at Double-A Akron. Perez has been on the disabled list since May 27 with a sore right shoulder. ... Former Indians general manager John Hart and former 2B Carlos Baerga will be inducted into the Indians' Hall of Fame on Saturday. . . Twins OF Oswaldo Arcia is tied for first among American League rookies with nine doubles and tied for second among rookies with five home runs. ... Twins 1B Justin Morneau has 105 career RBI against the Indians, his highest total against any team in the majors.