(Sports Network) – Kevin Slowey allowed two unearned runs in five solid innings, and the Minnesota Twins used a five-run first inning to win the rubber match against the Cleveland Indians, 6-2, at Progressive Field.
Slowey (12-6), making his second start after a stint on the disabled list, allowed six hits while fanning five and walking none for the Twins, who have won eight of nine to move 6 1/2 games ahead of the White Sox, who are playing Kansas City, in the AL Central.
Michael Cuddyer had two hits, an RBI and a run scored, as six different players scored and five different players drove in a run for the Twins in the win.
Luis Valbuena had a two-run double, but committed a costly error in the first inning for the Indians, who scored only four runs in this three-game set. Michael Brantley extended his career-best hit streak to 13 games with a 2- for-4 effort.
Mitch Talbot (9-12) left with an injury after three batters, but allowed all three to score to take the loss. Justin Masterson allowed three runs — one earned — in seven innings of relief. He gave up five hits and struck out six.
Minnesota started quickly, scoring five times in the first.
Denard Span led off with a walk, stole second and moved to third on an Orlando Hudson single. After Joe Mauer’s RBI single, Talbot was lifted due to injury in favor of Masterson, who allowed a one-out single to Cuddyer to load the bases.
Valbuena’s ensuing error allowed Jim Thome to reach base, scoring Hudson for a 2-0 lead. Mauer came around to score on a wild pitch, and Delmon Young’s sacrifice fly added to the lead. Danny Valencia finished off the frame’s scoring with a two-out single to center.
Valbuena atoned for his error in the second, doubling in Jayson Nix and Jordan Brown with two outs for a 5-2 contest. Nix had reached on an error, and Brown followed with a single.
Cuddyer added an RBI single in the sixth to put the Twins ahead by four after the Indians squandered an opportunity in the fifth. Cleveland loaded the bases with one out, but Shin-Soo Choo struck out and Travis Hafner grounded out.
The Indians failed to threaten the rest of the way.
Talbot fell to 3-8 in 15 home starts and has not won at Progressive Field since May 25…The Twins lead the season series, 9-6…Minnesota recorded its 4,000th win since moving from Washington, DC to Minneapolis…The Twins went 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position…Talbot left with shoulder inflammation. He is day-to-day.