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Indians overcome mistakes to win

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- It was an ugly game on both sides, but it's always a little less ugly when you win.

The Cleveland Indians won Sunday, beating the Minnesota Twins 3-1 in a game in which the two teams combined for five errors, 11 walks, and 25 runners left on base.

"You can boot the ball around and lose and say you just had a bad day," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona, whose team made four errors, "or you can boot the ball around and fight back and win. So good for us."

Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire was still trying to figure out what happened after the game.

"I don't know who was supposed to win it," he said. "Sounds like we were. When you make four errors you're not supposed to win."

The Indians did, however, thanks to two big hits in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Drew Stubbs' solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth broke a 1-1 tie, and Nick Swisher's RBI single later in the inning drove in an insurance run.

Stubbs' blast off reliever Jared Burton (2-7) sailed over the center field wall. It was Stubbs' ninth homer of the year. Michael Bourn followed the home run with a hustle double, and he scored on a single by Swisher.

Reliever Joe Smith (5-1) pitched a scoreless eighth inning to get the win for Cleveland, and Chris Perez pitched the ninth to pick up his 21st save.

"We tried every way we could to give it away," said Stubbs. "Four errors is very uncharacteristic of us. But we hung in there and battled. An ugly win is just as good as a pretty win."

It was a frustrating game for both teams, who squandered numerous scoring opportunities. The Twins were 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base.

"We put our pitchers in multiple situations that were difficult," said Francona. "They (the Twins) had runners on base all day. We were throwing the ball all over the field, but except for a bunt we kept them off the scoreboard. That says lot about our pitching."

Gardenhire could only sigh when asked about his team's inability to get a big hit.

"Hitting with runners in scoring position has not been a good stat for us this year. We've been terrible," he said.

Cleveland took a 1-0 lead in the third inning against Minnesota starter Mike Pelfrey. With Bourn at second and Swisher at first, Jason Kipnis sailed a single into center field, scoring Bourn with the first run of the game.

Minnesota tied it in the fifth inning against Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir. Clete Thomas led off that inning with a single. He went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Pedro Florimon. Brian Dozier followed with a single to right field, sending Thomas to third.

Doug Bernier then laid down a perfect squeeze bunt, scoring Thomas with the tying run.

Much of the rest of the game was frustrating for both teams. Minnesota pitchers walked eight batters, but Cleveland was unable cash in any of those walks, as none of those eight hitters scored a run.

The Twins had nine hits and Cleveland committed four errors, but the Twins left 13 runners on base. Three times the Twins had a runner at third with less than two outs and failed to score.

"They made a lot of mistakes but we missed a lot of opportunities. Maybe we're trying too hard," said Gardenhire.

Kazmir pitched six innings, giving up one run on seven hits with eight strikeouts and one walk. Pelfrey, in five innings, gave up one run on two hits, with three strikeouts and six walks.

Notes: Twins 1B Justin Morneau was supposed to get a day off Sunday. He was not in the starting lineup, but was needed as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and reached on an error. ... C Joe Mauer is eligible to come off the seven-day concussion disabled list on Tuesday, but he isn't expected to be activated until the end of the week at the earliest. ... Prior to the game, the Indians activated RHP Josh Tomlin off the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Class AAA Columbus. Tomlin had been on the DL all year as he completed his recovery from Tommy John surgery in August of last year. ... At the start of play Sunday, Kipnis had 20 RBIs vs. Minnesota, which is tied for the most by any player against one opponent this season. Detroit Tigers 3B Miguel Cabrera has 20 RBIs vs. the Indians.
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