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Mejia deals, but Twins drop tight one to Tribe

Young lefty throws 5 shutout innings in first start back in rotation
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

MINNEAPOLIS -- The decision to trade right-hander Lance Lynn to the Yankees before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline created an opportunity for someone to seize a spot in the Twins' rotation over the final two months of the season.

Adalberto Mejia impressed in his first audition, throwing five scoreless innings against the Indians in a 2-0 loss in the series finale on Wednesday at Target Field. Mejia had previously thrown three scoreless frames against the Red Sox in relief on Sunday, so the Twins were cautious with the left-hander, removing him after 74 pitches despite having allowed just one hit.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- The decision to trade right-hander Lance Lynn to the Yankees before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline created an opportunity for someone to seize a spot in the Twins' rotation over the final two months of the season.

Adalberto Mejia impressed in his first audition, throwing five scoreless innings against the Indians in a 2-0 loss in the series finale on Wednesday at Target Field. Mejia had previously thrown three scoreless frames against the Red Sox in relief on Sunday, so the Twins were cautious with the left-hander, removing him after 74 pitches despite having allowed just one hit.

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"A good day for Mejia," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "A nice relief stint in Boston against a good lineup, and then today [to] go through five. It's a little different routine, coming off of two days' rest, and I didn't want to push it."

Over his past two appearances -- both against first-place teams -- Mejia has allowed a combined two hits and three walks over nine scoreless innings. Mejia didn't make the roster out of Spring Training and dealt with a blister early in the season at Triple-A Rochester, but now he has the chance to show he's improved since his rookie season last year and can be more efficient.

"I'm just going to give it my best," Mejia said through an interpreter. "I'm going to keep throwing strikes, and hopefully I'm able to stay up here and help the team get wins before the end of the season."

Reliever Matt Magill was saddled with the loss, as he gave up a run in the sixth after allowing back-to-back singles to Rajai Davis and Jose Ramirez with one out. The Indians tried to execute a double steal, as Ramirez was thrown out at second on the play, but Davis was able to score from third. It was ruled as a fielder's choice, and a challenge by the Indians proved unsuccessful with Ramirez out at second.

Video: CLE@MIN: Twins catch Ramirez stealing, call confirmed

"We were going to throw through with one out, understanding they had speed over at third base at that stage of the game," Molitor said. "I wasn't going to give him a free base. We got the out, but we missed the guy at home."

Minnesota's offense had trouble against right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts. He scattered four hits, including a two-out triple to Joe Mauer in the sixth. But he struck out Eddie Rosario to get out of the jam.

Video: CLE@MIN: Mauer hammers a triple down right-field line

The Indians added an insurance run in the ninth against reliever Fernando Rodney, who was hurt by shortstop Jorge Polanco missing a throw from Miguel Sano on a potential double play. Rodney gave up a run on an RBI single from Yan Gomes but otherwise limited the damage, including striking out Davis on a 3-2 fastball with the bases loaded to end the inning.

"They scored a couple runs on a couple plays that we missed," Molitor said. "That was the difference."

FORSYTHE MAKES TWINS DEBUT
Infielder Logan Forsythe, who was acquired from the Dodgers in the Brian Dozier trade, made his debut as a pinch-hitter in the eighth with two on and one out against lefty Brad Hand. Forsythe hit a 0-2 fastball hard with an exit velocity of 100.3 mph, but Lindor was able to range to his right and start an inning-ending double play. Forsythe is expected to be the regular at second in the absence of Dozier, but wasn't in the starting lineup after taking a red-eye flight from Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Good to see Logan get out there," Molitor said. "He hit the ball sharply and Lindor made a nice play."

Video: CLE@MIN: Lindor makes backhanded stop to turn key DP

SOUND SMART
The Twins hadn't lost a series to the Indians this year prior to Wednesday. The loss dropped them to 7-5 against Cleveland with 10 games remaining between the two clubs. Minnesota also trails Cleveland by 10 games in the AL Central.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Right fielder Max Kepler was credited with a five-star catch for his diving grab to rob Yonder Alonso of a hit and help Mejia escape a jam by doubling off Edwin Encarnacion at second. The diving play had a catch probability of 18 percent, per Statcast™, as he had to cover 32 feet in 2.8 seconds. It was his third five-star catch of the year.

"I kind of got a late read on it," Kepler said. "I didn't think it was going to carry that much. But luckily I committed to it and made the play. I don't think Encarnacion knew what going on, because he went all the way. But good for us, right?"

Video: CLE@MIN: Kepler makes diving grab, doubles up runner

HE SAID IT
"I think we're all putting it behind us pretty well. We're dealing with it. It's still weird coming in in the mornings, and you're used to sitting next to someone at breakfast or lunch, whatever it is what time, and he's not there. So that's what I'm personally dealing with, but once the game starts, it's just grind mode, trying to put together good at-bats and playing solid defense and giving the team a chance to win. I think it's going to take us some time to digest what happened, but when it comes to winning and losing we put it behind us right when the game's over." -- Kepler, on moving on from the Twins being sellers

• Molitor preaches focus after busy Deadline

UP NEXT
After an off-day on Thursday, the Twins host the Royals for a three-game series at Target Field beginning on Friday at 7:10 p.m. CT. Right-hander Jake Odorizzi (4-7, 4.58 ERA) starts for Minnesota, after he gave up five runs over five innings against the Red Sox last time out. Forsythe is also expected to make his first start with the Twins at second base after Tuesday's trade with the Dodgers. Right-hander Heath Fillmyer (0-1, 3.29 ERA) starts for Kansas City.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Minnesota Twins, Adalberto Mejia