Twins shut down after Dozier’s homer

Published 1:27 am Monday, May 11, 2015

CLEVELAND — The Minnesota Twins rolled through the first two games of their series against the Indians. Then they ran into Danny Salazar, and their four-game winning streak ended with an 8-2 loss Sunday.

Salazar retired 21 straight batters after Brian Dozier’s leadoff home run.

“He kind of cruised,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Velocity seemed to pick up — he was throwing harder at the end than he was in the beginning. His changeup was disappearing, especially on the left-handed hitters. He was tough, no doubt about that.”

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Coming into the game, the Twins had scored the most runs in baseball since April 15 (133) after totaling 16 in the weekend’s first two games — both wins. But Salazar didn’t let another Minnesota batter on base through seven innings while tying his career high with 11 strikeouts.

The Indians answered Dozier’s homer with a run of their own in the bottom half, and from there, Salazar (4-1) shut down what has become a potent Minnesota offense.

The Indians broke it open with a five-run fourth inning against Trevor May (2-3), capped by Lonnie Chisenhall’s three-run homer. May had given up two runs in each of his last three starts, but did not pitch six full innings in any of those games. On Sunday, he didn’t make it past the fourth.

“That’s something that’s been frustrating me (more) than anything is looking out in the bullpen and seeing a guy warm up in the fourth, fifth, sixth every single time I pitch,” May said. “I don’t see myself as that guy.”

May’s best start of the season came against the Indians on April 19, when he gave up one run and four hits in six innings as part of a 7-2 victory in Minneapolis.

The 25-year-old Salazar is showing signs of being the pitcher who helped the Indians make the playoffs in 2013 and started the wild-card game against Tampa Bay. He struggled last season and began this year in the minors, but has been dominant since getting called up April 18.

Salazar has struck out 48 in 33 innings, and the Indians are 5-1 in games he’s started.

Cleveland relievers combined to add five more strikeouts of their own Sunday.

In the ninth, Indians closer Cody Allen walked Torii Hunter, who went to second and scored on Joe Mauer’s single. Hunter went 7 for 12 in the series, hitting two home runs while knocking in five runs and scoring six times.


Minnesota 3B Trevor Plouffe returned after missing Saturday’s game due to a family matter in Texas. Plouffe was in Sunday’s lineup, but was scratched because his flight to Cleveland didn’t arrive until about an hour before the game. He got to the clubhouse only 20 minutes before the first pitch. Doug Bernier took Plouffe’s spot at third and batted sixth.


Twins: RHP Casey Fien (sore shoulder) has started a throwing program. He’s been on the 15-day disabled list since April 30.

Indians: LHP TJ House (sore shoulder) is on a throwing program, but manager Terry Francona doesn’t want to rush House’s return. It’s unclear when House will begin a minor league rehab assignment.


Twins: Minnesota is off Monday and will open a three-game series in Detroit on Tuesday. RHP Kyle Gibson, who pitched six scoreless innings in his last start, will go for the Twins. He hasn’t given up a run in 17 1-3 innings.

Indians: Cleveland opens a three-game interleague series at home Tuesday against St. Louis after being off Monday. RHP Carlos Carrasco, who has won his last two starts, will face the Cardinals.