Twins 6, Indians 4

They juggled their lineup, held a pregame meeting and came out

swinging.

The Cleveland Indians still couldn’t stop their slide.

Their funk is getting funkier.

Minnesota’s Scott Baker survived a shaky start and Matt Tolbert

drove in two runs as the Twins extended their season-high winning

streak to five games with a 6-4 win Monday night over the

falling-fast Indians, who lost their fifth straight and may soon

cough up their lead in the AL Central.

”We’ve got to pull everything together,” said Indians

shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. ”We’ve got to do it soon. We’re going

through a bad time right now.”

Baker (3-4) was down 2-0 after throwing just four pitches as the

Indians hit screaming line drives all over Progressive Field in the

first. However, the right-hander bobbed and weaved his way around

trouble and stayed in until the eighth. He allowed three earned

runs and nine hits.

Josh Tomlin (7-3) lasted six innings for the Indians, who led

their division by seven games as recently as May 23 but have

dropped their seventh straight at home – their longest streak since

2003.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run homer and Michael Brantley added

a solo shot for Cleveland.

”We can’t seem to get every part of the game right,” said

Indians manager Manny Acta, whose young team is facing its first

adversity after a stunning start.

After being swept four straight by Texas over the weekend, the

Indians were relieved the defending league champions left town and

were replaced by the last-place Twins, who came in with baseball’s

worst record. Minnesota, though, is playing its best ball in what

has been a disappointing and injury-pocked season so far.

Suddenly, the Twins, two-time defending Central champs, have

that winning feeling again.

”We’ve had a lot of tough losses,” manager Ron Gardenhire

said. ”There’s a lot of excitement on our bench. There’s a lot

better feeling that we have a chance to win right now. No matter

what the score is we feel we can stay in the game.”

The Indians couldn’t string anything together against Baker,

pulled after allowing the first two batters to reach in the eighth.

Reliever Jose Mijares got Carlos Santana to hit into a double play

before Cabrera scored on an error to make it 6-4. Alex Burnett

struck out Matt LaPorta to end the inning.

In the ninth, Twins closer Matt Capps allowed a leadoff walk,

but got a strikeout and game-ending double play for his eighth

save.

Before the game, the Indians were puzzling in their handling of

a players-only meeting. Initially, Acta said he was unaware of the

meeting, but was pleased it took place.

”I’m glad they got together,” he said.

However, after speaking to players during batting practice, Acta

informed reporters that no such meeting happened. Later, a team

spokesman sent out a text message confirming ”a brief players

gathering” between advance meetings for the position players and

pitchers.

Afterward, Tomlin said the meeting was to thank players for baby

shower gifts.

Acta feels his players are pressing.

”I can see that,” he said. ”I see guys instead of just taking

what the pitcher gives them and using the whole field, just hooking

everything and that comes when you are trying to hit three- four-

and five-run homers with one swing. It’s impossible. They just need

to relax.”

The Indians came out flying.

Brantley led off with a double, and Cabrera followed by hitting

Baker’s next pitch 407 feet to right to make it 2-0, giving the

Indians their first lead in 34 innings. It was Cabrera’s

team-leading 12th homer – double his previous career high.

Grady Sizemore, batting third in Cleveland’s reshuffled lineup,

then lined into a double play and Baker retired Shin-Soo Choo on a

line drive to right.

Baker had dodged a bullet – or three.

”We let him get into a rhythm and pound the strike zone and he

got the best out of us,” Acta said. ”I thought we were going to

be able to score more runs.”

Tomlin didn’t make the lead stand long.

The Twins tied it 2-all in the second on a two-out, two-run

single by Tolbert.

Baker then settled in over the next three innings and Minnesota

grabbed a 5-2 lead in the fourth, scoring its runs on a safety

squeeze, double-play grounder and wild pitch.

Brantley’s fifth homer made it 5-3 in the fifth, but the Twins

went back up by three on Delmon Young’s bloop RBI double in the

sixth.

NOTES: The Twins have activated LHP Francisco Liriano to start

Tuesday’s game. … Oft-injured 1B Nick Johnson, signed by the

Indians during the offseason as insurance, took batting practice

before the game as he prepares to play in the minors leagues.

Johnson, who had wrist surgery last year, could be an option later

this season. He’s not currently on the 40-man roster. … Twins C

Joe Mauer went 0 for 2 with a strikeout and caught five innings for

Class A Fort Myers. The former AL MVP has been on the disabled list

since April 14 with leg weakness. There’s no timetable for his

return. … With the No. 8 overall pick, the Indians selected SS

Francisco Lindor, who played at Montverde (Fla.) Academy High

School. The switch-hitter batted .528 as a senior with 15 of his 28

hits going for extra bases.