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Indians slip past Twins with late home run

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CLEVELAND (AP) — Drew Stubbs hit a tiebreaking, two-out homer in the eighth inning and the Cleveland Indians overcame four errors to beat the Minnesota Twins 3-1 Sunday.

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Stubbs homered to dead center on a 0-1 pitch from Jared Burton (2-7) to snap a 1-all tie and lift the Indians to a crucial win in their quest a spot in the American League playoffs.

Joe Smith (5-1) pitched a scoreless eighth and Chris Perez worked the ninth for his 21st save.

The Indians entered the day trailing Oakland by 2½ games for the AL’s second wild-card spot, but didn’t look like a playoff contender for much of the day. In addition to the four errors, the Indians made several other mistakes, both in the field and on the bases but managed to survive before starting a crucial road trip to Atlanta and Detroit that begins Tuesday.

Nick Swisher added an RBI single in the eighth.

Pitchers Scott Kazmir and Cody Allen and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera had throwing errors while second baseman Jason Kipnis dropped a soft line drive. The Twins failed to take advantage of the Indians’ generosity. Minnesota stranded 13 runners and was 3 for 19 with runners in scoring position.

Stubbs is making a habit of late-game heroics. His two-run homer in the 14th inning on Wednesday was the key blow in a 4-1 win.

Burton retired the first two hitters in the eighth before before Stubbs hit his ninth home run of the season to the deepest part of the ballpark. Michael Bourn turned his routine hit to center by hustling into second for a double and scored on Swisher’s single.

Neither starter was involved in the decision. Kazmir allowed one run and struck out eight in six innings while Mike Pelfrey walked six in five innnigs, but held Cleveland to one run and two hits.

The Indians, who stranded 12 baserunners, took a 1-0 lead in the third on Kipnis’ RBI single.

Cleveland’s shoddy defense helped Minnesota tie the game in the fifth. Clete Thomas led off with a single, took second on a sacrifice and moved to third on Brian Dozier’s single. Thomas scored when Doug Bernier pushed a bunt to the right side of the mound. Swisher fielded the ball, but no one covered first and Bernier reached with a single.

Josh Willingham struck out, but Ryan Doumit walked to load the bases. The inning finally ended when Trevor Plouffe lined out to third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall.

A double and Cabrera’s throwing error put runnners at second and third with one out in the Twins’ fourth, but Kazmir worked out of the jam. Wilkin Ramirez flied out to shallow right field and Chris Colabello struck out.

The Twins played the final game of a stretch that saw them play 27 games in 27 days.

Saturday’s Game

CLEVELAND (AP) — Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis hit two-run homers, Zach McAllister won his third straight start and the Cleveland Indians defeated the Minnesota Twins 7-2 on Saturday night.

The win moved the Indians into third place in the crowded American League wild card race.

Santana’s two-run homer in the first got the Indians off to a quick start. Kipnis, who snapped an 0 for 19 skid with a first-inning single, homered in the third. Both home runs came off starter Liam Hendriks (0-2), who has lost 12 of his 13 career decisions.

McAllister (7-7) allowed two runs in 7 1-3 innings. Brian Dozier homered in the eighth and hit a sacrifice fly in the third for Minnesota’s only success against the right-hander, who has given up four earned runs in 19 2-3 innings in his winning streak.

Nick Swisher added a two-run double in the fifth for Cleveland, which won for only the second time in its last nine home games.

Kipnis reached in the first on a two-out single and scored when Santana homered to right. Kipnis’ homer bounced off the roof of Minnesota’s bullpen in right field, his first home run since July 21. Santana and Kipnis are tied for the team lead with 16 homers.

Hendriks, who was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to make the start, recorded his only career win at Progressive Field last season. The right-hander, a native of Australia, didn’t get the same results this time, allowing seven runs in 4 1-3 innings.

The Twins, who were 14-7 against the Indians since last September going into the game, couldn’t muster anything else against McAllister, who missed seven weeks earlier in the season because of a sprained middle finger on his pitching hand. He allowed two runs with seven strikeouts in six innings of a 5-2 win at Minnesota on Aug. 13.

The Indians, coming off a 6-3 road trip, looked flat in Friday night’s 5-1 loss in which they managed only six singles. Several Cleveland hitters have been struggling, including Michael Brantley, who broke an 0 for 22 slump with an RBI single in the fifth.

The Indians put the game away with the three-run fifth, which included three hits and two walks. A single by Drew Stubbs and a walk to Michael Bourn started the rally. Both runners scored on Swisher’s double to right-center. Hendriks was pulled one batter later. Anthony Swarzak walked Santana before Swisher scored on Brantley’s liner to left.

Hendriks was recalled to take the rotation spot of the ineffective Kyle Gibson, who was sent to Rochester earlier in the week. Hendriks’ only career win came against the Indians on Sept. 19 of last season when he allowed two runs in six innings in a 6-4 victory. That win snapped a string of 17 starts without a victory, the third-longest streak to begin a career in history.

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