CLEVELAND (AP) -- Dave Gassner had a sleepless night, then made a
Backed by three-run homers from Lew Ford and Torii Hunter, the
left-hander won his major league debut Saturday, beating the
Cleveland Indians 6-4 and helping the Minnesota Twins to their
sixth straight victory.
"I didn't sleep much," said Gassner (1-0) who worked six
strong innings to become the first Twins pitcher to win his first
big league start since Eric Milton beat Kansas City on April 5,
"I could not have written a better script," said the
26-year-old, who had more than 100 family and friends in the
stands. "I feel fortunate to do as well as I did in front of all
of them. I was nervous."
Ford connected off Kevin Millwood (0-2) with two outs in the
sixth inning for a 3-2 lead. Hunter hit a three-run shot with none
out in the eighth to make it 6-2.
"I felt good, I just didn't think good," said Millwood, who
missed most of the second half of 2004 with Philadelphia because of
a sore elbow.
"My pitch selection wasn't good," he added. "It was not a
smart day for me. That's even more frustrating."
Cleveland manager Eric Wedge considered lifting Millwood after
seven innings, but, "Kevin felt strong and deserved a chance to go
out there another inning and try to get a win."
Hunter was not as sure.
"I was shocked," he said. "You know he's a bulldog and wants
the ball, but I was surprised."
Millwood, who has not worked more than seven innings since Sept.
3, 2003, threw 101 pitches entering the eighth.
Gassner kept the Indians off balance with an array off-speed
pitches. He allowed three hits and two runs -- one earned. He walked
one and struck out one.
He was recalled from Triple-A Rochester when right-hander Carlos
Silva went on the disabled list with torn cartilage in his right
knee April 9. Gassner was 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA at Rochester after
compiling a 2.38 ERA in seven spring appearances with the Twins.
"He did exactly what we saw all spring," Twins manager Ron
Gardenhire said. "He commanded the strike zone and changed
Gassner went 16-8 a year ago at Rochester -- the most wins by a
Red Wings pitcher since 1966 and most by a lefty since 1951.
"We had a scouting report on him," Wedge said, "but we didn't
do a very good job of being patient against him."
Jose Hernandez, who went 3-for-4, put Cleveland ahead with a
two-run homer in the second, but the Indians lost for the fourth
time in five games.
Aaron Boone reached second when Twins second baseman Nick Punto
lost his popup in the sun and had the ball glance off his glove for
an error. Hernandez then drove a 2-2 pitch over the left-center
field wall for his first AL homer and 160th of his career.
Millwood didn't allow a hit until Terry Tiffee's two-out single
in the fourth. That snapped an 0-for-29 streak by Twins batters
since the third inning of their 3-2 win Friday night.
Hunter doubled Tiffee to third, but Millwood struck out Jacque
Jones to end the threat.
With two outs in the sixth, Hunter singled and took third on
Jones' opposite-field double off the left-field wall.
Ford, a .338 (26-for-77) career hitter against Cleveland, then
hit his second homer for a 3-2 lead.
"Millwood faced us last year and he had a lot more velocity
today," said Ford. "He threw good, but I was able to lift a
Mauer and Tiffee each singled before Hunter connected for his
third homer in the eighth.
Millwood allowed six runs and nine hits over seven-plus innings.
He is still looking for his first AL win since signing a one-year,
$7 million free agent contract in January.
Ludwick is 2-for-16 this season -- both hits were homers.
The Twins have scored first in only one of 11 games. ... Minnesota
has outscored the opposition 37-19 during its winning streak. ...
Cleveland did not make an error for the first time in 11 games this
year. ... Millwood remains two wins shy of 100 for his career. ...
Gassner, Milton and Scott Erickson, on June 25, 1990, are the only
Twins starters since 1980 to win their first start in the big