Stubbs' four hits lead Indians past Twins

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND - Drew Stubbs hasn't been one of the noisy hitters in Cleveland's lineup this season, but his bat was heard loudly on Friday night.

Stubbs' walkoff RBI double with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning, his fourth hit and third double of the game, lifted the Indians to a 7-6 victory over the Minnesota Twins and helped extend the Indians' winning streak to five games.

The first four wins in Cleveland's streak were by lopsided scores: 10-3, 9-0, 14-2, and 6-0. Friday's game was much closer, but the same outcome _ another Cleveland victory.

"It's good that everyone is helping us out getting these wins," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona.

Stubbs, the Indians' No.9 hitter, was the hero on this night. Mike Aviles led off the bottom of the10th with a single off Twins reliever Casey Fien, and Aviles was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ezequiel Carrera.

Stubbs then pounded a line drive into the gap in left-centerfield, scoring Aviles with the game-winning run.

"I'm not sure what the pitch was, but I was able to put a good swing on it. Being able to contribute to a win is very rewarding for a player," said Stubbs, who was acquired from Cincinnati in a three-team trade last winter.

The 28-year-old Stubbs got off to a slow start this season, but that has changed during Cleveland's winning streak. In his last three games, the outfielder is 9-for-14 with three doubles, a home run and two RBI.

"I'm seeing the ball well and putting good swings on it when I get a good pitch to hit," he said.

"He's been taking a lot of good swings lately, and you knew he was going to start to connect at some point," said Francona of Stubbs, who in the last three games has raised his batting average from .213 to .284.

Cleveland closer Chris Perez, who pitched the top of the 10th, got the win. He is 1-0. Fien is 1-2.

"A good ballgame, both teams going back and forth, doing some damage here and there, and we came up on the short end," said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire.

The Indians were unable to protect leads of 4-2 and 5-3, and when Chris Parmelee belted a three-run home run off reliever Cody Allen in the seventh inning the Twins took a 6-5 lead.

"That was a big home run for us. Unfortunately we couldn't finish it off," said Gardenhire.

The Indians tied it in the bottom of the eighth when they loaded the bases with one out against reliever Jared Burton, but only scored one run. That run scored on an RBI groundout by Jason Kipnis, whose grounder to second baseman Brian Dozier might have been turned into an inning-ending double play, but Dozier bobbled the ball and had to settle for throwing to first to get Kipnis, while the runner from third scored the tying run.

"Burton did a good job of getting the ground ball. I don't know if we would have made the double play or not," said Dozier. "Kipnis runs well. You never know."

Rookie left-hander Pedro Hernandez started for the Twins and pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits.

Cleveland starter Justin Masterson pitched 6 2/3 innings, giving up five runs. Masterson has struggled since starting the season as one of the hottest pitchers in the majors.

After his first three starts Masterson was 3-0 with a 0.41 ERA. However, in his last four starts, Masterson is 1-2 with a 6.48 ERA.

Minnesota's pitchers cooled off three of Cleveland's hottest hitters. Ryan Raburn, who came into the game with 12 hits, including four home runs, in his last 14 at bats, went 0-for-5. Carlos Santana, the American League's leading hitter at .395, went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts. Asdrubal Cabrera went 0-for-4 and saw his 10-game hitting streak snapped.

After falling behind 2-0 after two innings, the Indians scored four unanswered to take a 4-2 lead after five innings. Mark Reynolds broke a 2-2 tie with a two-out two-run home run off Hernandez in the fifth that gave Cleveland a two-run cushion.

Hernandez kept the Cleveland bats quiet for most of the first four innings. The only runs allowed by Hernandez in that span came on a two-run triple by Jason Kipnis in the third inning.

Minnesota had taken a 2-0 lead by scoring single runs off Masterson in the first two innings. Justin Morneau's sacrifice fly in the first inning and Trevor Plouffe's solo home run in the second gave the Twins an early 2-0 lead.

NOTES: Josh Willingham, who leads the Twins in home runs and is tied for the team lead in RBIs, was not in the starting lineup against Masterson. Willingham is 2-for-12 with six strikeouts in his career against the Cleveland right-hander. ... Entering Friday's game Morneau needed one more home run to tie Kirby Puckett (207) for fifth place on the Twins' all-time list. ... Indians first baseman Nick Swisher was expected back in the lineup Friday after missing the previous two games with a sore right shoulder, but he was given an additional day off. Manager Terry Francona said Swisher will be in the lineup on Saturday. ... Outfielder Carrera, claimed off waivers by the Indians from Philadelphia on Thursday, was in uniform for Friday's game.
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