Twins tag Kluber for 4 runs, hang on to beat Indians, 6-3
CLEVELAND (AP) — Corey Kluber had a rare rocky performance, lasting just five innings and losing for the first time in seven starts as Kyle Gibson outpitched the Cy Young winner and Brian Dozier hit a two-run homer to lead the Minnesota Twins to a 6-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
Kluber (10-3) allowed a homer on his fourth pitch of the game to Eddie Rosario and was pulled after throwing just 65 pitches by manager Terry Francona.
It was the shortest outing this season for the All-Star, who came in 5-0 with a 0.76 ERA against AL Central teams and was riding several other impressive streaks.
Gibson (2-4) limited the Indians to one run and three hits in seven innings and got his first win since his season debut on March 31.
The Twins came into the series struggling at the plate and figured to have a tough time with Kluber, who has been as dominant this season as any stretch of his career and was seeking to become baseball’s first 11-game winner.
Kluber, though, wasn’t Kluber.
With Joe Mauer returning from the disabled list after missing 25 games with a strained neck and concussion-like symptoms, Minnesota manager Paul Molitor dropped Dozier from the leadoff spot to No. 5 and the second baseman responded with his two-run homer in the fourth and three RBIs.
Lindor had two more errors, giving the Indians All-Star shortstop 10 this season, tying his total from 2017.
Dozier put the Twins ahead 4-0 in the fourth inning, when Kluber allowed his first walk in seven starts.
After Rosario doubled leading off, Kluber threw four balls to Eduardo Escobar, snapping his string without a walk at 46 1/3 innings — the longest for a Cleveland pitcher in 11 years. Rosario then scored when Lindor’s return throw to first after a force out nearly went into Minnesota’s dugout.
Dozier followed by snapping a 0-for-20 slump with his 10th homer, a shot that barely cleared the wall in left to make it 4-0 and put Kluber in an unfamiliar hole. The steady-and-stoic star had not given up more than three runs in a game since Aug. 3, a span of 27 starts and testament to his consistency.
Rosario has tormented Cleveland’s pitching all season, and he gave the Twins a 1-0 lead in the first when he connected on Kluber’s first pitch for his 15th homer — and fourth against the Indians.
It was Rosario’s second homer on consecutive pitches against the Indians. He hit three homers, including a walk-off in the ninth, to lead Minnesota to a win over Cleveland on June 3.
The Indians were without starting first baseman Yonder Alonso, who was placed on the family-medical-emergency list and will miss at least this series.
Twins: OF Byron Buxton (toe fracture) is working out with the team and could begin a minor league rehab assignment in a few days. He was injured May 29 and placed on the disabled list the following day.
Indians: There’s still no definitive plan with All-Star LHP Andrew Miller, who has been out since May 24 with right knee inflammation. Francona said the team is taking a “long-term” approach with the elite reliever, who has been on the DL twice this season. “When we get him back, we want to keep him back,” Francona said, adding Miller has not had any recurrences or setbacks. … RHP Nick Goody has been shut down for three weeks after receiving a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection in his elbow. He has a bone spur which flared up while he was throwing from 100 feet.
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