MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Cleveland Indians climbed back to the
.500 mark with some clutch hits, a fine performance from their ace
starter and another close win over one of their AL Central
It began with the return, and rapid exit, of Indians slugger
Juan Gonzalez. Out since spring training with a strained right
hamstring, Gonzalez aggravated the injury while running out a
grounder in his first at-bat and never made it to right field.
But Cleveland recovered, winning for the eighth time in 10 games
-- and fourth in a row -- to begin an important, season-long 12-game
road trip. The Indians play second-place Minnesota two more times
before heading to division-leading Chicago for a weekend series.
"I think we're way better than .500," said C.C. Sabathia, who
pitched into the eighth. "I think we're going to win this
division, and .500 ain't going to get it done."
These clubs have exchanged their share of stares, shoves, trash
talk and elbows -- plus plenty of inside pitches and hit batsmen --
since the century turned. Major League Baseball told both managers
before their series in Cleveland last week that bad behavior would
not be tolerated.
Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire got ejected again for arguing --
as he was during a game against the Indians at the Metrodome on May
5. This time, Gardenhire got mad when home plate umpire Bill Hohn
warned both benches after starter Carlos Silva threw high in the
sixth and Jody Gerut had to duck.
Sabathia (4-3), who fueled the mutual dislike earlier this
season by saying he hated the Twins, threw inside to Shannon
Stewart in the second inning -- drawing some boos from the crowd.
Stewart was fined for elbowing Cleveland reliever Jason Davis at
home plate in that May 5 game, shortly after he was hit by a pitch
from Davis. Davis has not been well-regarded in Minnesota since
throwing at Torii Hunter in a July 2003 game here.
Gardenhire thought Sabathia was glaring at Juan Castro after his
two-run double in the second gave the Twins a brief 2-1 lead.
Stewart was buzzed after the hit by Castro, who said he wasn't
looking at Sabathia.
"Somebody's going to have to tell me where we're going with
this," Gardenhire said. "When they try to drill us, which I know
what happens with that guy, then it's going to have to come the
other way. Look at how many of our guys have been hit to their
guys. I don't have an answer. All I know is my wife is mad at me,
because it's going to cost me more money."
Gardenhire was fined $750 for throwing his hat in disgust after
the May 5 ejection. After he got tossed on Tuesday, Gardenhire
flipped his hat again on the way to the clubhouse.
Getting two outs in the eighth before walking Matthew LeCroy and
yielding to Bob Howry, Sabathia gave up seven hits, three runs and
two walks while striking out three -- his first victory in four
starts against the Twins this season.
The burly left-hander wasn't overpowering, but he consistently
threw strikes and effectively used his changeup to keep the
opposition off balance and swinging at the first pitch. Sabathia
threw 95 pitches.
"If I can do that, I think I can pretty much beat anybody," he
"The guys are working hard to push in the right direction,"
manager Eric Wedge said.
Silva (3-3), who gave up just one earned run in his previous 17
innings, allowed nine hits, four runs and one walk without any
strikeouts in seven innings.
A groundball pitcher who thrives on a powerful sinker, Silva got
help from his infield defense -- especially second baseman Nick
Punto. Cleveland hit into three of its four double plays with Silva
pitching, but the long ball did him in.
Ben Broussard, 8-for-18 with five RBI in his career against the
right-hander, hit the first pitch of the fourth inning into the
folded stacks of football seats above right field to tie the game
Then Martinez hit a two-out shot that traveled to just about the
same spot, putting the Indians up 4-3.
"I feel like I tried to stay in," Silva said. "I made a
The Twins started the fourth with consecutive singles, but
Michael Cuddyer hit his first pitch into a double play.
"We need a better at-bat there," Gardenhire said.
Castro drove in all three runs for Minnesota. ...
Gonzalez's status is day to day. ... This was the 18th career
ejection for Gardenhire, who is in his fourth season as a manager.
... Casey Blake replaced Gonzalez in the cleanup spot. He went
0-for-3. ... Twins starters have thrown six-plus innings in 20 of