The Minnesota Twins entered their weekend series having scored seven or more runs in the last three games.
Scott Kazmir put a stop to that.
The Cleveland left-hander held the Twins to just one run on five hits Friday as Minnesota dropped the series opener by a 5-1 final. The offense that had found a rhythm during the recent home stand went cold to start the road trip.
“We really didn’t put too much pressure on them offensively,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “It was just a tough night, one of those nights where they found some holes and we couldn’t get the ball to go through anywhere.”
The Twins had five games during their home stand in which they recorded 10 or more hits, including each of the last three games. Minnesota exploded for 15 hits in Thursday’s 8-4 win over the White Sox.
Kazmir reversed that trend, too. Minnesota’s batters had just five hits through seven innings and didn’t record a hit against Cleveland’s bullpen. The Twins did record four extra-base hits, including three doubles, but still managed to scratch across just one run.
“He mixed and matched really well,” Gardenhire said of Kazmir, who improved to 4-4 with a 5.37 ERA. “He used all of his pitches. He had a nice angle.”
Dozier stays hot: Twins second baseman Brian Dozier hit a big home run Wednesday and another one Thursday against the Chicago White Sox. On Friday, Dozier made it three straight days with a home run as he hit a solo shot to left in the sixth inning off Indians starter Scott Kazmir.
Dozier isn’t necessarily known as a power hitter — he hit just six homers in 84 games last year as a rookie and never hit more than nine in a minor league season — but he’s now tied third on the Twins with seven homers. Only Josh Willingham (10) and Ryan Doumit (8) have hit more home runs for Minnesota than Dozier.
Four of Dozier’s seven homers have come in the last five days. During that stretch he’s batting .353 (6-for-17) with four homers, seven RBI and three walks.
Thielbar’s scoreless streak grows: Twins rookie left-hander Caleb Thielbar made his major league debut on May 20. More than a month later, he has still yet to allow a run in relief.
Thielbar tossed a scoreless eighth inning Friday as one of the few bright spots for Minnesota in the 5-1 loss to Cleveland. Thielbar allowed just one walk to Mark Reynolds but otherwise escaped the inning unscathed. He picked up his 12th strikeout of the season.
The story of Thielbar’s rise to the majors has been well-documented. The Randolph, Minn., native pitched for the independent St. Paul Saints after he was released by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010. Minnesota signed him in August of 2011, and he debuted this year after a strong start to the year with Triple-A Rochester. He now has made 11 major league appearances (12 2/3 innings) without allowing a run.