MINNEAPOLIS -- Joe Mauer's RBI single in the eighth inning snapped a 2-2 tie and the Minnesota Twins beat the Cleveland Indians 3-2 on Friday night for the third straight victory.
Glen Perkins, who joined Mauer in New York earlier this week as the Twins' All-Star Game representatives, struck out one in a perfect ninth inning for his 22nd save in 23 chances. He was assisted by a sprawling, diving catch by Pedro Florimon on a blooper toward left field by Michael Brantley.
Casey Fien (2-2) pitched a scoreless eighth to pick up the win.
The Indians remained 1 1/2 games behind first-place Detroit in the American League Central after the Tigers lost at Kansas City 1-0.
Florimon, who scored twice in the game, opened the eighth with a single and made his way to third when Mauer ripped Joe Smith's (4-1) two-out, 2-2 pitch into center field.
The Twins had only two hits in the first six innings before rallying against the Cleveland bullpen.
Indians starter Scott Kazmir was sailing along with two outs in the sixth when he appeared to hurt himself while pitching to Florimon. Kasmir stayed in the game and walked Florimon, with Brian Dozier reaching on an error and both coming around on a single by Trevor Plouffe to tie the score at 2.
The Indians broke out on top in the third against Minnesota starter Mike Pelfrey with a two-run double by Michael Bourne. Cleveland threatened in the fifth against Pelfrey, who struck out Asdrubal Cabrera with two on to end the inning.
Minnesota had a tough time getting started against Kazmir. The left-hander retired the first seven batters he faced, and the streak could have been longer had Cabrera come up with Clete Thomas' semi-line drive to shortstop in the third. Cabrera backed up and tried to short-hop the ball, which tipped off his glove and skittered into left field.
NOTES: For the third straight year, the Indians begin play after the All-Star Break on the road. ... Going into Friday, Cleveland starting pitchers were 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA in the team's last eight games. ... INF Doug Bernier, who was called up by the Twins from Class Triple-A Rochester on Sunday, went 0-for-4 in two games with Colorado in 2008 in his only previous big-league appearance. ... Plouffe batted second for the first time this season.