Deduno stymies Tribe as Twins roll in opener
Right-hander holds Indians to one run on three hits in six strong frames
CLEVELAND -- The recent struggles of Samuel Deduno continued during the first inning of Friday night's series opener at Progressive Field. From the second inning on, they seemed to vanish altogether.
Deduno -- who had been bothered by right biceps tendinitis -- allowed two singles and threw two wild pitches in the opening frame, resulting in a run for the Indians. It turned out to be Cleveland's only one. The Twins quickly answered with a pair of runs in the second and added on later as Minnesota won its second game in a row, taking the first of three games in Cleveland, 5-1.
"That was kind of vintage Deduno tonight," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, whose club has won three of four. "He definitely had better stuff tonight, against a very good hitting baseball team that normally puts the ball in play an awful lot. He did a really nice job for us."
Deduno largely stifled the Indians' bats over six innings, allowing just three hits. He used 93 pitches in the outing, during which he had four walks and six strikeouts.
"Effectively wild, you call it," Gardenhire said. "That's his forte. That's what he does. He moves people off the plate.
"We heard [Nick] Swisher telling [Justin] Morneau at first base that might have been the nastiest stuff he's seen all season."
The effort was a pleasant outcome for the Twins (57-70), who watched Deduno flounder on the mound during each of his previous three starts. In that span, the right-hander was 0-3 with a 7.02 ERA. Across 16 2/3 innings, Deduno had been tagged for 25 hits and 13 earned runs. Opponents hit .352 off him in that stretch.
"Today, the difference was my arm," said Deduno, who was hesitant at first to throw his hardest. "I felt pretty much better today. My fastball, aggressive. I could feel it today with my breaking ball, too. It was better today, my arm."
Though Deduno (8-7, 3.69 ERA) gave up the early run and the Twins wasted a savory scoring opportunity in their half of the first, Minnesota wasn't discouraged. Clete Thomas kicked off the second with a double to left. After an out, Pedro Florimon tied the game with a deep double of his own, and Chris Herrmann's two-out double put Minnesota on top for good.
Cleveland's most serious threat occurred in the sixth inning, when Bourn and Swisher reached with nobody out. But Jason Kipnis struck out after a few failed bunt attempts, and Herrmann gunned down Bourn at third base from behind the plate. After Carlos Santana walked to load the bases, Deduno induced an inning-ending groundout from Michael Brantley.
"That was a part of the game we should've been able to score," Bourn said. "They beared down us. He made a good throw when I stole."
The Twins began the game by loading the bases against Tribe starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who answered by striking out Josh Willingham, Ryan Doumit and Trevor Plouffe to escape the jam.
Shortly after, the Indians (69-59) got their run when Bourn led off with a single to right, moved into scoring position on the first of Deduno's wild pitches and came around on a single by Santana.
After going on top, the Twins added another pair in the seventh inning after Jimenez's exit. With two outs and men on the corners, Willingham laced a double to the wall in right-center, plating both runners and pushing Minnesota's lead to three runs.
"To be honest with you, from my standpoint, it was nice to help the team for once," said Willingham, who had been hitless in his prior 15 at-bats. "I haven't done very much lately to help us win games. We've been playing pretty good. It's nice to be able to contribute."
Minnesota grabbed another run in the eighth, which began with a double by Plouffe and a single by Thomas. Wilkin Ramirez's 6-4-3 double-play ball brought Plouffe in from third.
Following Deduno's departure, Brian Duensing kept Cleveland to two hits over 2 2/3 scoreless innings and Casey Fien got Mike Aviles to ground out to end the game.
Jimenez (9-8, 3.95 ERA) was gone after six innings and 114 pitches. He allowed five hits -- four of which were doubles -- and two runs, with three walks and a season-high 10 strikeouts.
While Jimenez had fewer walks and more strikeouts than Deduno, Deduno surrendered fewer hits and fewer runs.
"Sam gave up the run early," Willingham said, "and then settled down and got out of one jam, I think. Other than that, it was pretty smooth sailing for him."