MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins’ reign atop the AL Central is all but over. After being swept twice by
Victor Martinez had two hits and two RBIs to back a quality start from Fausto Carmona, and the surging Indians beat
“They’ve grown together, and now they’re ready to go,”
Carmona (15-8) allowed two runs and eight hits in 7 1-3 innings to help the AL Central leaders to their 11th win in 12 games. Six of those victories have come against the Twins, who had won five in a row when they walked into Jacobs Field on Aug. 27 looking to cut into
But the Twins were swept out of the Jake, split a series with
“We’re going to have to have a lot of help,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “When you’re playing head-to-head against people and you don’t beat them, and they sweep you, that knocks your socks off a little bit. We’ve gotten ourselves in a very, very deep hole.”
Rafael Perez got five outs for his first major league save.
“We’ve got a good vibe right now,” said
Twins starter Scott Baker (8-7) gave up three runs and 11 hits with six strikeouts in five innings, a resounding step back from his stellar outing on Friday against the Royals.
Baker carried a perfect game into the ninth in that one, and was two outs from a no-hitter when Mike Sweeney broke it up.
On Wednesday, Grady Sizemore needed just two pitches to get the first hit off Baker, lining a single to center field to lead off the game. Baker then hit Asdrubal Cabrera in the back with a pitch and gave up an RBI double to Travis Hafner.
The right-hander from
The Indians had a leadoff single in all five innings Baker worked. But he got some timely strikeouts, including one of
Carmona breezed through the first four innings against a Twins lineup he has dominated all season. He entered the game with a 1.14 ERA in three previous starts against the Twins.
“We’re playing real well,” Carmona said through a translator. “We need to continue playing the same way we have been playing for the last two weeks. But we have to make sure we don’t take anything for granted and play hard.”
The wiry Dominican needed just 54 pitches to get through the first four innings, but gave up two runs and four hits in the fifth to let the Twins back in the game.
Luis Rodriguez had a sacrifice fly and Hunter added an RBI single to make the score 3-2, but Carmona got cleanup hitter Justin Morneau to ground out with runners on the corners to end the inning.
The Indians tacked on three more runs in the ninth, two coming on pinch-hitter Kenny Lofton’s single off Pat Neshek.
“We can’t afford not to peak right now,” Blake said. “But I don’t even know if we’re peaking. There’s no reason why we can’t play like this all the time. But we couldn’t afford to play just average baseball right now.”