CLEVELAND -- Good pitching usually stops good hitting, and Sunday at Progressive Field, Minnesota's Mike Pelfrey proved it.
The big right-hander limited a red-hot Cleveland Indians' lineup to one run on four hits in six innings to lead the Twins to a 4-2 victory, snapping the Indians' six-game winning streak.
Minnesota salvaged the final game of the series after giving up a total of 14 runs in losing the first two games. During its six-game winning streak, Cleveland averaged nearly nine runs per game, out-scoring their opponents 53-14.
The Indians scored six or more runs in all six of the wins during their streak, but they could do nothing with the 6-foot-7 Pelfrey, who gave up one run and three hits in the fourth inning and held Cleveland scoreless on one hit in the other five innings he pitched.
"He was sinking it at 94 mph. That's tough to hit," said Mark Reynolds, who drove in the Indians' only run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. "He kept the ball down and we weren't able to string any hits together off him."
Pelfrey was limited to three starts last year with the New York Mets due to a sore elbow that led to season-ending Tommy John surgery May 1. He won his first start this season for the Twins, pitching 5 1/3 scoreless innings in an 8-2 win over Detroit. Sunday's win over Cleveland was just his second victory since August 24, 2011.
"He threw the ball great," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. "This has been a heck of a comeback. We're still just a year out of the surgery. We're taking small steps. Hopefully we'll keep progressing."
Pelfrey struck out seven in six innings. That's one strikeout shy of his career high, and it matched the total he had from his first five starts this season.
"He had real good velocity on the plate, and once he established that he could throw strikes in, it opened up the plate for him," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona.
Trevor Plouffe's two-run home run off Cleveland starter Corey Kluber in the second inning gave Minnesota a 2-0 lead it never relinquished.
Pelfrey, who improved his record to 3-2, made sure of that. In addition to his seven strikeouts he walked just one.
"It definitely feels better than the last (start)," said Pelfrey. "At the end of the day, if we win I'm happy. If I had given up four or five runs and we would have won, I would have been OK with it. Winning is the thing I care most about."
The only inning Pelfrey wasn't dominant was the fourth. Asdrubal Cabrera led off with a double, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Reynolds.
Kluber (2-1), who was starting on six days rest, settled down after Plouffe's home run and retired 10 of the next 12 batters he faced, but the Twins reached him for another run in the sixth inning.
Jamey Carroll led off that inning with a single and Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham drew walks to load the bases. Justin Morneau lined a single to right, scoring Carroll to give the Twins a 3-1 lead.
Minnesota added to its lead in the seventh inning against Cleveland reliever Matt Albers. With two outs and nobody on base Albers walked Carroll.
Mauer, who has been struggling at the plate in recent games, followed with a double into the gap in left-center field, driving in Carroll to make it 4-1. Mauer was 1-for-2 in the game with two walks. He came into the game hitting .176 (3-for-17) in the first five games of the Twins' current road trip.
Carlos Santana's solo home run off Twins' closer Glen Perkins with two outs in the ninth made it 4-2. Ryan Raburn followed Santana's home run with a single, bringing the tying run to the plate in pinch hitter Mike Aviles.
Aviles worked the count to 3-2, but then struck out as Perkins picked up his seventh save.
NOTES: Twins first baseman Justin Morneau's RBI single in the sixth inning was his 105th RBI in 136 career games against Cleveland. That's his highest total vs. any team in the majors. ... Vance Worley, who will start for the Twins on Monday in Boston, will be looking for his first win since Aug. 1 of last year with Philadelphia. Worley is 0-7 with a 7.01 ERA in 11 starts since then. ... Indians' outfielder Michael Bourn will begin a minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus on Monday. Bourn has been on the disabled list since April 15 with a lacerated right index finger. ... The Indians recalled reliever Scott Barnes from Triple-A Columbus and designated outfielder Ezequiel Carrera for assignment.