Willingham hits 27th HR as Twins rout Indians
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Young right-hander Samuel Deduno shut down Cleveland's lineup through seven innings on Saturday night.
It was just the sort of performance Minnesota hadn't been getting from its veterans in the rotation. And shortly after celebrating the second victory of Deduno's budding major league career, the Twins parted ways with one of those starters, sending Francisco Liriano to the Chicago White Sox for two prospects.
Despite Deduno's career-high six strikeouts and the Twins' impressive 12-5 win over the Cleveland Indians, general manager Terry Ryan knows he has to look toward the future for the club.
"I'm not thrilled about trading him within the division, but you guys know where we are in the standings," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said.
Minnesota received infielder Eduardo Escobar and left-hander Pedro Hernandez in return, and both players will be assigned to Triple-A Rochester.
Saturday's win pulled the Twins out of a last-place tie with Kansas City. Liriano was set to become a free agent after this season.
"We didn't want to be left with nothing," Ryan said.
An All-Star in 2006 before undergoing Tommy John surgery that same year, Liriano was 3-10 this season with a 5.31 ERA. He had been scheduled to pitch Sunday's finale against the Indians. Brian Duensing will take his place.
Rotation regulars Liriano, Carl Pavano and Nick Blackburn were a combined 9-21 in 43 starts this season. Meanwhile, Deduno and fellow youngsters Scott Diamond and Cole DeVries are 13-6 in 27 starts.
"Oh it's awesome with the young kids coming up," pitching coach Rick Anderson said. "I always tell them, `You're in Triple-A and you get here for a reason, because you're confident,' ... The more they throw, the more success that they have, the more confidence they have."
Both Anderson and Ron Gardenhire said Deduno needs to work on controlling his fastball.
"Some will cut, some will sink," catcher Joe Mauer said. "But if it's not easy to catch, it's probably tougher to hit, too."
The Indians agreed.
"He was throwing a lot of backdoor curveballs, getting ahead," Jack Hannahan said. "A little deceiving, too."
Deduno (2-0) allowed only two hits, and Josh Willingham hit his 27th homer of the season.
Alexi Casilla drove in four runs for the Twins, who routed the Indians for the second consecutive night after being swept three games in Chicago.
Cleveland starter Justin Masterson (7-9) allowed 10 runs -- eight earned -- over 5 2-3 innings. The Indians are 6-10 since the All-Star break and fell to 50-51.
"We've had highs and lows and they always seem to come back," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "We have fallen under .500 before. We just take it one day at a time. We've been there before."
Denard Span, Ben Revere and Willingham each drove in two runs for Minnesota, which has outscored Cleveland 23-5 in the first two games of the weekend series.
Deduno opened the game by giving up a single to Shin-Soo Choo, who scored to give the Indians the lead. But Deduno shut down Cleveland's lineup after the first, retiring 17 of the next 21 batters he faced.
Willingham's two-run homer in the fourth gave Minnesota a 2-1 lead. The next inning, Casilla hit a two-run triple. Casilla drove in two more with a double in the sixth, when Minnesota scored five runs to put the game out of reach.
"He had good stuff," Willingham said of Masterson. "Especially early and he had a good sinker going, we couldn't even get the ball out of the infield. I don't know what happened, but he started leaving a few balls to hit and we were able to capitalize."
Danny Valencia, recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Friday, hit an RBI double in the seventh to make it 11-1 and snap an 0-for-28 skid in the major leagues.
Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer in the eighth off reliever Tyler Robertson. The Indians added two more in the ninth after Valencia made a throwing error and Luis Perdomo walked Jason Kipnis with the bases loaded. Casey Rien struck out Santana for the final out.
NOTES: Valencia started at third base in place of the injured Trevor Plouffe. "I told him, `Relax, have fun, just like you did before, just go play. Play the game.' That's what he's going to do," Gardenhire said before the game. ... Through 101 games, Indians starting pitchers are 36-44 with a 4.85 ERA. Before the game, Acta admitted he expected more from his rotation. "My expectations have always been to win, and if you're expecting to win you can't be expecting to be bottom five in pitching. ... SS Brent Lillibridge made his first start for Cleveland since being acquired from Boston last week. ... The teams wrap up their three-game series on Sunday when Ubaldo Jimenez (8-9) faces Duensing (1-6) in place of Liriano.