Lee rights self against Twins

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Cliff Lee reached into his locker and then
tossed some sneakers and a few personal items into a cardboard box
readied for shipment.

A little earlier, Lee showed he hadn't packed in the season.

Lee won for the second time since July 16 and rookie Grady
Sizemore hit a two-run homer, leading the Cleveland Indians to a
9-7 win over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night.

Lee (12-8) made it through 5 2-3 innings, allowing five runs and
eight hits. The performance wasn't pretty, but the left-hander, who
opened the season 10-1, will take it after going 1-7 with a 10.03
ERA in his previous 11 outings.

"I went from doing real good to real bad," Lee said,
attempting to explain his second-half slide. "I've got to figure
out how to cut those stretches short."

Sizemore homered in the fifth inning as the Indians built a 7-2
lead and hung on to snap a four-game losing streak against the
playoff-bound Twins.

Josh Bard homered and had three RBI, and Coco Crisp drove in
two runs for Cleveland (75-78), which still has its sights set on
second place and .500.

"We've got to finish strong," Ben Broussard said. "You don't
want to end on a bad note."

Rafael Betancourt gave up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Justin
Morneau in the ninth before getting Terry Tiffee to ground out for
his fourth save.

Minnesota rookie J.D. Durbin (0-1) didn't make it out of the
fourth inning of his first career start. The Twins have lost three
in a row since qualifying for the postseason, but manager Ron
Gardenhire isn't too concerned.

"We had an emotional series in Chicago," he said. "You know
there is going to be a little bit of a letdown. But I like the way
we kept battling. Hopefully, that will carry over and we'll get
over this little funk and start winning some ballgames."

The atmosphere was much different from when the clubs last met
in a series at Jacobs Field. In mid-August, the Indians pulled
within one game of first-place Minnesota and the three-game series
at Jacobs Field attracted more than 100,000.

The Twins won the series finale and never looked back in the AL
Central, clinching their third straight division title earlier this

Only 18,053 were on hand for the first game of Cleveland's final
four-game homestand.

Lee gave them something to savor in the offseason with a solid
outing to build on for 2005. The lefty has won two of his last
three starts, a positive finish following nearly two months of

"I've been humbled," said the 26-year-old lefty. "I started
out cruising pretty good. But the hitters started adjusting to me,
started to figure me out and I didn't do a good job of handling

Sizemore's two-run homer off reliever Matt Guerrier put the
Indians up 7-2 in the fifth.

Casey Blake opened the inning with a double. Two outs later,
Sizemore, Cleveland's expected center fielder on opening day next
season, lined a pitch over the wall in center that rattled around
the tables in the picnic area.

The Twins came back with three runs to pull within 7-5 in the
sixth. They loaded the bases before Luis Rivas lined out to left as
Lee was lucky to get a sacrifice fly.

Lee was pulled after walking Henry Blanco to reload the bases.
Shannon Stewart followed with a two-run single off David Riske to
bring the Twins within two, but Riske was able to work out of the

Crisp's RBI double in the seventh pushed the Indians' lead to
8-5, and Bard hit his first homer since last Sept. 20 an inning
later to make it 9-6.

The Indians pounced early on Durbin, the Twins' top minor league
pitcher in 2002, tagging him for five runs in three-plus innings.

The right-hander fell behind 2-0 in the first on consecutive,
two-out RBI singles by Broussard and Crisp.

Cleveland added three runs in the fourth on Bard's two-run
double over Torii Hunter's head in center and an RBI double by
Brandon Phillips.

Game notes
Twins LHP Johan Santana, who is 19-6 with a 2.65 ERA, goes
for his 20th win Friday night. Minnesota has had 14 20-game
winners, the most recent Brad Radke in 1997. ... Despite the win,
the Indians are just 8-12 in September and 15-30 in the season's
final month the past two years. ... Cleveland manager Eric Wedge
was ejected in the eighth for arguing with first-base umpire Tim