Kazmir, Kipnis lift Indians over Twins
CLEVELAND — Scott Kazmir allowed one run in seven strong innings and Jason Kipnis drove in three, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 5-1 win over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
Kazmir (4-4) gave up just a leadoff homer to Brian Dozier in the sixth and four other hits. The left-hander struck out seven, including five in his final two innings. Kazmir has been a pleasant addition for the Indians, who signed him during the winter after he pitched for the independent Sugarland Skeeters last season.
Kipnis hit a sacrifice fly — to the second baseman — off Samuel Deduno (3-2) in the third and added a two-run single in the seventh as the Indians won their third straight and seventh in nine games since losing eight in a row.
The Twins came in riding a three-game winning streak. They homered four times in an 8-4 win Thursday to complete a sweep of the Chicago White Sox.
But Kazmir, who hadn’t won since May 30, cooled Minnesota off.
The left-hander blanked the Twins on three hits over the first five innings before Dozier opened the sixth with his seventh homer to cut Cleveland’s lead to 2-1.
Dozier turned on a 1-0 pitch and belted it into the bleachers in left. Kazmir, though, regrouped and struck out Joe Mauer, got Ryan Doumit on a grounder and fanned Josh Willingham looking to preserve the lead.
Kazmir was in trouble in the seventh, when he appeared to hurt himself on a 3-1 pitch to Trevor Plouffe. After Kazmir bounced his pitch way short of the plate, Indians manager Terry Francona and trainer Lonnie Soloff came out to visit the starter, who told them “I’m all right” but then gave up a double on his next pitch.
But with Cody Allen warming up in the bullpen and Francona inching his way toward the dugout steps, Kazmir struck out Oswaldo Arcia and Clete Thomas to end the inning.
The Indians chased Deduno and added three runs in the seventh on Drew Stubbs’ RBI single and Kipnis’ blooper to left.
Mark Reynolds singled and Deduno walked Lonnie Chisenhall before he was replaced by Josh Roenicke, who got one out but gave up Stubbs’ run-scoring hit. Brian Duensing came on and got one out and walked Mike Aviles to load the bases before Kipnis dropped a soft single over shortstop Jamey Carroll’s head to make it 5-1.
Cleveland went up 2-0 in the third on a play scored as a rare sacrifice fly to second.
Stubbs singled leading off and went to third on Michael Bourn’s single. With one out, Kipnis hit a flair to shallow center that second baseman Dozier ran down and caught behind the bag, but dropped as he was transferring the ball from his glove. Stubbs alertly stayed on the base, tagged and dashed home.
The Indians, who have been playing nothing but close games lately, took a 1-0 lead in the second on Reynolds’ RBI single.
Michael Brantley doubled with one out and Reynolds followed with a shot off the wall in left-center. Reynolds tried to stretch his hit into a double and was initially ruled safe by second base umpire Eric Cooper. However, Reynolds overslid the bag and was tagged out before he could scramble back.
Notes: Indians 1B Nick Swisher took batting practice and could return to the lineup Saturday after missing five games with a sore left shoulder. Swisher has been dealing with pain in his shoulder all season, and knows he’ll have to manage the injury for the remainder of the year. ... Twins 1B Justin Mourneau entered the series with 105 career RBIs against the Indians, his most against any club. ... The Twins have homered in six straight games. ... Former Indians All-Star center fielder Kenny Lofton threw a ceremonial first strike to Sandy Alomar. Lofton received a rousing ovation. ... The Twins are 13-6 against the Indians since last June. ... The Indians will induct former GM John Hart and All-Star 2B Carlos Baerga into their Hall of Fame on Saturday. Cleveland won two AL pennants and five straight AL Central titles under Hart.