Series: Game 1 of 2

Minnesota leads 1-0 (as of 8/19)

Game 1: Tuesday, August 19
Game 2: Wednesday, August 20

Twins 8

(64-61, 31-31 away)

Indians 2

(55-72, 32-32 home)

    7:05 PM ET, August 19, 2003

    Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio 

    123456789 R H E
    MIN 000004130 8 14 0
    CLE 000020000 2 8 2

    W: J. Santana (7-3)

    L: J. Davis (7-10)

    Santana strikes out 10 in eight innings

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- When cooler heads prevailed, Torii Hunter was happy his was in one piece.

    Hunter took exception to an inside fastball from Jason Davis as another chapter was added to the heated rivalry between the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians.

    This time, though, Davis' pitch was the only thing close.

    Johan Santana stayed hot in August with eight strong innings, and Matt LeCroy hit a three-run homer, leading Minnesota to an 8-2 win over Cleveland.

    With the win, the Twins pulled within 1{ games of first-place Kansas City in the AL Central. It's the closest the defending division champs have been since July 2.

    But once again, Hunter was in the middle of another heated matter with Davis, who fired a 97 mph fastball under the outfielder's chin in the sixth inning.

    "I know pitching is part of baseball," Hunter said. "But don't play with my head. You can hit me in my ribs, in my foot, in my knee. Don't play with the head. I need my head."

    Davis said his pitch had a purpose, but it wasn't intended to harm Hunter.

    "I threw inside and I'll continue to throw inside," he said.

    Santana (7-3) struck out a season-high 10 and allowed eight hits. The left-hander is 3-0 this month and has given up just four earned runs in his last 30 innings.

    LeCroy's homer came in the sixth inning off Jason Davis (7-10). Dustan Mohr added a two-run homer in the eighth for Minnesota, just 4-8 against Cleveland this season.

    It wouldn't have been a Twins-Indians game without a heated situation.

    After Davis struck out Hunter to end the sixth, the rookie right-hander put his head down and headed for the dugout. Hunter, however, had to be steered toward the outfield by plate umpire Rob Drake.

    After his chat with Hunter, Drake warned both benches and there were no further problems.

    Earlier this season, an argument between Hunter and Davis touched off a benches-clearing incident in Minneapolis. Last year, Hunter was suspended for three games after throwing a ball at Indians pitcher Danys Baez.

    "I'm getting tired of this," Hunter said with a laugh.

    Twins manager Ron Gardenhire thought Hunter had a good reason to be upset.

    "He threw a ball up and in at Torii's lips," Gardenhire said. "When a ball's thrown up in your face, you get frustrated. They warned us. That's fine. But we're not out to throw at them or fight with them. We're in a pennant race and we're out here to win games."

    Hunter, who wanted to give Davis the benefit of the doubt, said the fastball was uncomfortably close.

    "If I didn't move, it would have knocked me out," he said. "I would have been dead. He didn't hit me, to it's no big deal. Maybe it got away from him. It's an accident, maybe. I hope it was an accident."

    Casey Blake went 4-for-4 with a two-run homer for the Indians.

    LeCroy, who has pounded Cleveland pitching this season, capped Minnesota's four-run sixth off Davis with his 14th homer, giving the Twins a 4-2 lead.

    Indians manager Eric Wedge played the percentages and had Davis, a right-hander, intentionally walk the left-handed hitting Corey Koskie to face LeCroy, a right-hander.

    But LeCroy wrecked the strategy and Davis' 0-1 pitch with his homer to left. It was LeCroy's fifth homer in 23 at-bats against the Indians this season.

    The Twins added a run in the seventh and three in the eighth, highlighted by Mohr's ninth homer.

    Blake, who spent three seasons stuck in Minnesota's minor league system, ended Santana's scoreless streak at 20 innings with his two-run shot in the fifth.

    With two outs, Coco Crisp hit a triple before Blake followed with his 15th homer -- and fifth against the Twins. He's batting .345 (19-for-54) against his former team.

    "We can't get him out," Gardenhire said. "I didn't think he was that mad when he left the organization."

    Game notes

    Davis remained winless since June 29 -- a span of nine starts. ... Twins DH Jacque Jones went 3-for-4 and is batting .345 (39-for-113) in his last 32 games. ... The Indians entered Tuesday night having played in an AL-high 17 extra-inning games this season. The major league season record is 31, set by the 1943 Boston Red Sox. ... In Sunday's loss to Kansas City, Twins pitchers didn't record a walk or strikeout for the first time since Aug. 4, 1988, at Toronto. ... Indians closer Bob Wickman pitched for the first time since last August, throwing one scoreless inning at Double-A Akron as he attempts a comeback from elbow ligament replacement surgery.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press