Hunter continues hot streak in 7-4 win
CLEVELAND (AP) Torii Hunter knows how to appreciate hot streaks.
Not only is the 39-year-old veteran on a torrid stretch, so are the Minnesota Twins.
Hunter had three hits, including a home run, and the Twins defeated the Cleveland Indians 7-4 on Saturday for their ninth win in 10 games.
Hunter, who was 4 for 4 on Friday, extended his consecutive hit streak to seven at-bats with a solo homer in the first, a single in the third and an infield hit in the fifth. The streak ended in the sixth when shortstop Jose Ramirez booted his ground ball for an error. Hunter grounded out in his last at-bat.
''It was a good rush,'' he said. ''I had a good swing going, good at-bats. You're only perfect for so long. You try to keep the same swing. Unfortunately they got me, but it was a lot of fun while it lasted.''
Phil Hughes (2-4) won his second consecutive start, allowing one run in 6 1-3 innings. The right-hander took a 7-0 lead into the sixth.
Minnesota rolled to a 9-3 win and pounded out 13 hits Friday. Hunter kept that going by hitting a 3-2 pitch into the bleachers in left with one out in the first as Minnesota recorded 16 hits.
''We've been coming through in clutch situations,'' Hunter said. ''We've got to ride that bike until the wheels fall off and I think that's what we're going to do.''
The Twins are 17-7 since April 13 and 8-1 in May.
''I talk a lot about not trying to get too far ahead,'' manager Paul Molitor said. ''We're playing good baseball and getting rewarded in the win column.''
Glen Perkins allowed two hits in the ninth, but recorded his 11th save.
Bruce Chen (0-1) gave up six runs in four-plus innings. The 37-year-old left-hander, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Columbus, pitched for his 11th major league team.
''I didn't pitch well, and I feel bad because I let the team down,'' said Chen, whose last big league appearance was with Kansas City on Aug. 28, 2014. ''I prepared myself well and I really wanted to help this team win.
''I'm just going to keep working hard and, hopefully, I can help this team win in the future.''
The Indians have lost four of five and have the worst record in the American League (10-19).
''We fought back and made a game of it, but I don't want to go too crazy because we lost,'' Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. ''It's not going to help us to feel sorry for ourselves, nor will we.''
Eduardo Escobar had three hits and drove in two runs for Minnesota.
Nick Swisher was 4 for 4 and is batting .316 in five games since returning from double knee surgery in August. Pinch-hitter David Murphy belted a two-run homer for Cleveland in the seventh.
Minnesota scored three runs in the third on consecutive two-out RBI single by Kennys Vargas, Escobar and Rosario. The Twins added two in the fifth.
The Indians loaded the bases in the seventh, but Aaron Thompson retired Lonnie Chisenhall on a fly ball.
Escobar filled in at third base for Trevor Plouffe, who left the team because of a family matter in Texas.
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Hunter wasn't sure what kind of pitch he hit from Chen for the home run.
''I have no idea,'' he said. ''He throws so many different pitches, you just don't know what you hit out. I think it was a changeup. I think it was a fastball. I don't know.''
Twins: 3B Eduardo Nunez (left oblique strain), RHP Casey Fien (right shoulder strain) and RHP Tim Stauffer (right intercostal strain) are all eligible to be activated off the 15-day DL on May 14.
Indians: C Yan Gomes (sprained right knee) is expected to increase his baseball activities next week. Francona hasn't put a timetable on when Gomes will begin a minor league rehab assignment.
Twins: RHP Trevor May will look to beat the Indians for the second time this season Sunday. He allowed one run in six innings in a 7-2 win on April 19.
Indians: RHP Danny Salazar starts the series finale. He struck out 10 and allowed two runs in six innings against the Twins on April 18 in his first start with Cleveland this season.