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Indians send Perkins to early shower, avoid sweep

Asdrubal Cabrera, top, of the Indians throws to first base after forcing Michael Cuddyer of the Twins out at second in the second inning Sunday in Cleveland. Delmon Young was out at first for the double play. Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Aaron Laffey pitched into the seventh inning and rookie Tony Sipp came up with two big strikeouts, helping the Cleveland Indians beat the Minnesota Twins 4-2 on Sunday and avoid a three-game sweep.

Laffey (2-0) allowed two runs and five hits in 6Zc innings. Laffey, who began the year at Triple-A Columbus, has been the Indians' most consistent starter. He has a 2.41 ERA in three starts since being recalled on April 15.

The Indians were held to one run in each of the first two games of the series, but Ryan Garko's two-run single off Glen Perkins (1-2) in the third gave them a 4-0 lead.

It was the shortest outing of the year for Perkins, who allowed four runs in five innings. Perkins had lasted eight innings in each of his first three starts.

Laffey left after Minnesota loaded the bases with one out in the seventh. Jensen Lewis surrendered pinch-hitter Denard Span's two-run single and walked Brendan Harris before Sipp came in to face lefty sluggers Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel.

Morneau entered the day hitting .364 over his last 10 games at Progressive Field, and Kubel homered twice Saturday night. But Sipp, making just his second career appearance, struck out both to preserve Cleveland's 4-2 lead.

Sipp was recalled on Wednesday and made his major League debut that night with a scoreless inning.

Kerry Wood pitched the ninth for his fourth save in four chances.

The slumping Indians entered the day batting .220 and had scored 18 runs in six games since scoring 22 runs at Yankee Stadium on April 18.

Mark DeRosa was thrown out by Twins catcher Jose Morales trying to steal second in the sixth inning. With All-Star catcher Joe Mauer on the disabled list, it was the first time this season a Twins catcher has thrown out a runner trying to steal. Not counting pickoffs by pitchers, opposing baserunners opened the season 19-for-19 against Twins catchers.

The Twins were trying to sweep the Indians in Cleveland for the first time since 1991.

NOTES: Morales went 4-for-4 for the first four-hit game of his career. ... Mauer experienced routine soreness after catching on consecutive days Friday and Saturday. There was a thought he could return to the Twins' lineup on Tuesday, but now that has likely been pushed back until Friday. ... Cleveland SS Jhonny Peralta's eighth-inning single snapped an 0-for-22 slump ... 2B Asdrubal Cabrera's walk in the first inning was the first by an Indians hitter since Peralta did it in the ninth inning Wednesday against Kansas City.