Three early runs and another three in the third supported Cleveland’s Cody Anderson on the mound and the Indians made the runs stand in a 6-3 defeat of the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night to avoid a costly sweep by their division rivals.
The early run support helped Anderson, who allowed ten hits over six and two-thirds innings, but allowed just one run to cross home plate on a homer in the seventh from Torii Hunter. The Twins struck through for two more off of Bryan Shaw in the eighth on a two-run homer from Eddie Rosario.
The Indians wasted little time getting on the scoreboard against Twins starter Kyle Gibson in the first. On the third pitch of the game, Jason Kipnis homered the opposite way. A walk to Jose Ramirez and a single from Francisco Lindor created another scoring opportunity. With two outs, Lonnie Chisenhall cashed both runners in on a single to right to give the Indians a 3-0 lead.
In the third, Ramirez and Lindor each reached base again, this time on a double and single to lead off the frame. Carlos Santana belted the Indians third of four straight hits over the wall in right for his 18th homer of the season to give the Indians a 6-0 lead at the time.
The Indians picked up a half-game on the idle Houston Astros, moving back within four games of the second American League Wild Card spot. The Twins fell back into a tie with the Los Angeles Angels at a game and a half in back of the Astros, and a third straight win from Baltimore left them three and a half in back of Houston.
Cleveland will open a three-game series in Kansas City against the AL Central champion Royals on Friday night in the final road trip of the season for the Indians. Carlos Carrasco (13-11) will start for the Tribe; Edinson Volquez (13-8) will oppose for the Royals.
W: C. Anderson (6-3)
L: K. Gibson (10-11)
S: Cody Allen (32)
HR: J. Kipnis (9, 1st inning off Gibson, 0 on, 0 out); C. Santana (18, 3rd inning off Gibson, 2 on, 0 out); T. Hunter (22, 7th inning off Anderson, 0 on, 1 out); E. Rosario (12, 8th inning off Shaw, 1 on, 2 out)
Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images