Lohse allows six hits in shutting down Cleveland

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Kyle Lohse wanted a shutout so badly that he
was willing to buy one.

Lohse blanked Cleveland for 7 1-3 innings and Cristian Guzman
homered for the first time in more than a year Saturday night as
the Minnesota Twins stayed in step atop the AL Central with a 2-0
win over the Indians.

Lohse (13-11) allowed six hits and matched a career high with
nine strikeouts before being lifted in the eighth. But he didn't
leave without a fight.

When manager Ron Gardenhire came to the mound, Lohse begged for
more time.

"He said, 'How much will it take to stay in?" Gardenhire
said. "I said, 'You don't have enough, but keep pitching like that
and you will.' We all want shutouts, but this is the time of year
when we all want wins."

Lohse's commanding performance allowed the Twins to remain tied
for first in the division with the Chicago White Sox, who beat
Boston 3-1 Saturday night.

Still, Lohse wanted a chance to finish what he started.

"I tried anything I could," he said of his offer to

So how much was he willing to spend?

"I didn't get that far," he said. "He (Gardenhire) was
already laughing. He wasn't taking any of it."

LaTroy Hawkins got two outs in the eighth and Eddie Guardado
pitched a perfect ninth for his 35th save.

Guzman hit his first homer since Sept. 11 last season -- 600
plate appearances -- off rookie Jason Stanford (0-2) in the sixth
and Torii Hunter homered in the seventh as Minnesota improved to
6-9 vs. Cleveland in 2003.

Guzman ended his long-ball drought by connecting on Stanford's
first pitch in the sixth. The drive to straightaway center barely
cleared the wall and outfielder Coco Crisp's glove.

Crisp raced back and made a leaping attempt at the wall but came
up empty. After falling to the warning track, Crisp pounded his
glove on the ground in frustration.

Guzman got a warm welcome when he got back to the dugout. There
were some jokes, too. Corey Koskie wanted the umpires to get the
ball back.

"Everybody was happy," Guzman said. "They were more excited
than me."

Hunter made it 2-0 an inning later with his 25th homer, a line
shot to the bleachers in right. Hunter is batting just .179 vs. the
Indians this season, but he has homered twice against them so far
in this series.

Lohse ended the fourth by taking Travis Hafner's hard shot up
the middle off his left knee. The ball ricocheted to first baseman
Doug Mientkiewicz, who stepped on first for the out.

Lohse dropped to his knees on the mound and stayed motionless
for a moment before walking gingerly to the dugout.

"I was glad to see it rolled over to first, because I wasn't
going to get up too quickly," he said.

Lohse looked fine over the next three innings, however, allowing
just two hits and striking out four.

"We weren't able to do anything against him," Indians manager
Eric Wedge said. "In terms of well-pitched games against us this
year, that was near the top of the list."

Stanford, making just his sixth major league start, had the
Twins swinging through, over and under his off-speed pitches for
the first five innings.

In the second, he struck out Jones on a pitch that registered
only 76 mph, then fanned Corey Koskie for the final out in the
fourth on a 73 mph changeup.

After getting Hunter to wave at a 77 mph pitch for the first out
in the fifth, Stanford gave up a single to Jones but got out of the
inning by getting A.J. Pierzynski to ground into a double play.

Jones injured his groin while running to second on the play. He
went to the outfield for the bottom of the inning, but left and was
replaced by Jon Ford.

Jones was on the disabled list in July with a groin injury, but
Gardenhire said this was in a different spot.

"At best, we're day to day," Gardenhire said.

Stanford allowed two runs -- both solo homers -- and four hits in
seven innings.

Game notes
Guzman's 543 plate appearances without a homer this season
was the third highest total in club history, bettered only by Kirby
Puckett (583 in 1984) and Rod Carew (591 in 1972). ... Twins LHP
Eric Milton will make his first start this season on Sunday. Milton
has been sidelined since undergoing surgery on his left knee during
spring training. ... Stanford has made it through the latest cuts
to make the U.S. Olympic team for 2004 in Athens.