MINNEAPOLIS — Mike Aviles didn’t know his numbers against Ricky Nolasco going into Wednesday night’s game. But he’s glad his manager did.
Aviles homered among his three hits and drove in two runs, and rookie T.J. House threw shutout ball into the sixth inning, combining with four relievers to pitch the Cleveland Indians past the Minnesota Twins 5-0 Wednesday night.
Indians manager Terry Francona started Aviles at third base and rested regular starter Lonnie Chisenhall, in part because Aviles had a good track record against Nolasco (5-9).
Aviles went 2 for 3 off the Twins’ starter and drove in the Indians’ third run with a broken-bat single. He’s now 7 for 11 with 4 RBIs in his career against Nolasco.
"I didn’t even know that. I know I’ve hit some balls decently against (Nolasco) but I didn’t know the numbers," said Aviles, who homered into the second deck in left field off reliever Sam Deduno in the ninth inning as well. "I don’t even know what it is. I guess sometimes you just see some pitchers a little better than others."
Nolasco gave up four runs in 6 2/3 innings. He has now given up 17 home runs in 20 starts. No Twins pitcher has allowed more homers or lost more games this season than Nolasco, who signed a four-year, $48 million contract last December to anchor Minnesota’s rotation.
"They definitely did attack, but that’s something that’s happened throughout my career because they know I’m going to fill up the strike zone for the most part," Nolasco said. "Sometimes they jump on me a little bit but if you make adjustments and make quality pitches you’ll get guys out."
House (2-3) gave up four hits while striking out five and walked three. The Indians extended Minnesota’s scoreless streak to 17 innings.