(Sports Network) – Travis Hafner’s RBI double in the eighth proved to be the difference, and the Cleveland Indians extended their winning streak to a season-best six with a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Twins.
Hafner finished with a pair of hits for the Indians, who have yet to lose since the All-Star break. It is the longest winning streak for the club since a seven-game stretch from September 15-22, 2008.
Shelley Duncan drove in two, while Carlos Santana and Matt LaPorta each had two hits in the win. Rafael Perez (3-0) earned the win despite allowing two inherited runners to score, and Chris Perez earned his ninth save.
Denard Span and Orlando Hudson each recorded two hits and an RBI for the Twins, who have lost three straight home games to the Indians for the first time since August 6, 2007-April 18, 2008.
Kevin Slowey allowed three runs in 5 2/3 frames, but didn’t factor into the decision, as Jose Mijares (1-1) received the loss for giving up the hit to Hafner.
After the Twins tied the game in the seventh, the Indians grabbed a 4-3 lead in the eighth when Santana drew a four-pitch walk off Mijares and raced around to score on Hafner’s double to center.
Joe Smith induced three straight groundouts to set down the Twins in order in the eighth, and Perez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the victory.
The Indians used some more timely hitting to take the lead in the sixth.
Santana singled with one away, and Jhonny Peralta’s two-out base hit moved Santana to second. After LaPorta worked a walk, Jesse Crain relieved Slowey and yielded a two-run single to Duncan, giving Cleveland a 3-1 advantage.
The Twins, though, rallied to tie the game in the seventh. J.J. Hardy and Nick Punto hit back-to-back one-out singles to end Justin Masterson’s outing, and Span and Hudson greeted Rafael Perez with consecutive RBI singles to even the score.
Minnesota jumped on the board in the opening inning.
Span legged out a double to center leading off, and Hudson followed with a single just past the outstretched glove of Jason Donald at second to put runners on the corners.
Joe Mauer’s ground ball scored Span and sent Hudson to second, and Hudson moved to third on a wild pitch. Masterson, though, settled down to strike out Jason Kubel and Jim Thome to get out of the inning.
The Indians tied the game in the fifth. LaPorta started the frame with a single and moved to second on Trevor Crowe’s groundout. With two outs, Donald launched a double to right, easily scoring LaPorta for a 1-1 game.
The Indians are 16-15 in Santana’s 31 starts at catcher…Cleveland is 20-17 against the AL Central overall…Slowey has just one win since June 13…The Indians have recorded an extra-base hit in 43 straight games, the longest active streak in the AL…The Twins have just one stolen base in their last 14 games…The season series is tied, 4-4…The Indians activated shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera after he sat out two months with a broken arm. He went 0- for-5 out of the leadoff spot in his first game since May 17…Masterson finished with three runs allowed on seven hits and a walk while fanning seven in 6 1/3 frames.