Twins 7, Indians 2

It was quite the anniversary for Carl Pavano, who added another
strong start to his remarkable resurgence.

Pavano pitched seven innings to beat his former team, Joe Mauer
had four hits and the Minnesota Twins defeated the Cleveland
Indians 7-2 on Saturday.

Clinging to a 3-2 lead, Pavano (14-7) struck out Shelley Duncan
to get out of a bases-loaded jam on his final pitch of the night.
He allowed seven hits, struck out six and walked four exactly one
year after he was traded for a player to be named later.

”They had me on the ropes, but I was able to make some
pitches,” Pavano said after improving to 9-1 with a 2.62 ERA in
his last 12 starts.

Following four injury-plagued years on a lucrative long-term
contract with the New York Yankees, Pavano signed with the Indians
for 2009 and was 9-8 with a 5.37 ERA when they sent him to
Minnesota last August. Minor leaguer Yohan Pino eventually was
shipped to Cleveland to complete the deal.

”The Indians gave me a chance and it was kind of a break-in
year,” Pavano said. ”I came over here and it has been a lot of
fun. We got to the playoffs last year and here we are, in another
pennant race.”

The Twins have won 11 of 14 and remained 1 1/2 games back of the
AL Central-leading White Sox, who beat Baltimore 4-2.

J.J. Hardy hit a tiebreaking RBI single off Fausto Carmona
(11-9) in the top of the seventh. Mauer went 4 for 5 but Minnesota
lost second baseman Alexi Casilla to a left ankle injury in the
third.

”He’ll get an MRI in the morning,” Minnesota manager Ron
Gardenhire said. ”He got it X-rayed. That showed a bone spur. Now,
we’ve got to see if there’s a fracture.”

Casilla scored from second on a single by Mauer. As he slid home
ahead of the throw, Casilla appeared to jam his ankle into the left
foot of catcher Chris Gimenez. Trevor Plouffe replaced Casilla in
the field in the bottom half.

Plouffe broke an 0-for-18 drought with his first career homer in
the eighth. The opposite-field line drive into the seats in
right-center made it 4-2.

Casilla had a career-high four RBIs Friday night. He has started
in place of Orlando Hudson, on the disabled list since July 24 with
a right oblique strain. Hudson is eligible to be activated
Sunday.

”We’re activating Hudson for sure,” Gardenhire said. ”The
other move (to get Hudson on the roster), we’ll see.”

Gardenhire praised Pavano, who is 19-11 in 35 starts since being
acquired by the Twins.

”He knows how to pitch and he’s a leader,” Gardenhire
said.

Indians manager Manny Acta agreed.

”He preyed on our aggressiveness,” Acta said. ”You could see
it with Duncan. He went 2-0 with the bases loaded. He never
panicked. He never threw him another strike and ended up getting
him out.”

Jason Kubel put Minnesota ahead 1-0 by hitting his 15th homer in
the second. That gave Kubel a .400 average (12 for 30) with three
homers in his career against Carmona. The next time up, Kubel was
grazed in the midsection by an inside fastball from Carmona, but he
went down to first without incident.

Cleveland tied it in the fourth. Shin-Soo Choo singled with one
out and scored on a two-out double into the right-field corner by
Jordan Brown, who had three hits. It was Brown’s first career RBI.
He scored on Matt LaPorta’s sharp single to left.

Carmona gave up five runs and 10 hits over 7 1-3 innings,
falling to 0-6 in his last seven starts against Minnesota.

”I don’t know,” Carmona said of struggling against Minnesota.
”I pitch them the same as other teams. They hit a couple of good
pitches.”

Michael Cuddyer, Danny Valencia and Kubel drove in runs against
Cleveland’s bullpen over the final two innings.

NOTES: The teams honored the Negro Leagues by wearing throwback
uniforms of the 1946 Cleveland Buckeyes and 1909 St. Paul (Minn.)
Gophers. … Former outfielder Kenny Lofton and late general
manager Cy Slapnicka were inducted into the Cleveland Indians Hall
of Fame before the game. Lofton got a resounding standing ovation
from fans chanting, ”Ken-ny, Ken-ny.” … Mauer is hitting .553
(21 for 38) with 16 RBIs in his last 10 games. … Pavano leads the
AL with eight road wins.