May tosses gem as Twins heat up on Indians
MINNEAPOLIS -- Trevor May turned in arguably the best outing of his young career, and was backed by a three-run homer from Torii Hunter to give the Twins a 7-2 win over the Indians on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.
May, making his 11th career start, went six innings, allowing just one run on four hits with no walks and four strikeouts. It was first time in his career he went at least six innings and gave up fewer than three runs. It helped the Twins to their second straight series win after also taking two of three from the Royals this week. More >
"A lot of good things happened today," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Trevor May was able to have a nice six innings against a predominantly left-handed lineup. He didn't use his spinning pitches, but was able to use his changeup to be effective. He gave us an opportunity and we were able to get some runs early and keep adding on."
May outpitched Indians left-hander T.J. House, who surrendered five runs on seven hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings. House allowed three runs in the second, when he loaded the bases with nobody out after walking Kennys Vargas, serving up a double to Trevor Plouffe and plunking Kurt Suzuki. He was hurt by another leadoff walk in the fourth that led to another run before exiting in the sixth after giving up a two-out single to Shane Robinson.
"I thought coming out his stuff was flat. It looked like he was a little sluggish," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "When TJ is good, he's got the good two-seam going down in the zone and then off of that comes his breaking ball and the changeup. He didn't ever really have much of a feel for his changeup." More >
Former Twins reliever Anthony Swarzak replaced House, but gave up a three-run blast to Hunter that essentially put the game away for the Twins.
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May's day a good one: The Twins had just three quality starts in 10 games this year entering Sunday, but May picked up his first of the season with a strong effort. May was plagued by control issues in his first taste of the Majors last year, but didn't walk a batter in six solid frames. The lone run he allowed came in the third, when All-Star Michael Brantley capped off a string of three straight two-out hits for the Tribe with an RBI single.
"The one time we strung some hits together, it was with two outs," Francona said. "He just kind of took the sting out of our bats." More >
Walk away: House has issued three leadoff walks through two starts and each have turned into runs for the opposition. The lefty walked Kennys Vargas to open the second inning and the Twins went on to piece together a three-run inning. In the fourth, House walked Suzuki to lead things off, and the catcher later scored on a single by Robinson.
"A lot of things are frustrating right now," said House, who is 0-2 with a 14.14 ERA. " I'm just not getting ahead of guys. Long innings. I'm constantly battling from behind and putting them in good positions. Leadoff walks. There's a lot of things that are not going the way I'd like them to."
On the House: The last of the five runs allowed by House was tacked onto his pitching line following his exit. In an effort to halt another Minnesota rally, Cleveland gave the ball to Swarzak with two outs, one runner on base and the Tribe trailing 4-1. Swarzak proceeded to walk Brian Dozier and then gave up Hunter's homer, kicking open the floodgates.
"We went to Anthony to try to keep it right where it was," Francona said. "That didn't work real well."
Hunter smacks first homer: Hunter gave the Twins three insurance runs in the sixth with his first homer of the season. The three-run blast to left came off Swarzak, and turned a three-run lead into a six-run lead. It was Hunter's 193rd homer with the Twins, but his first in a Minnesota uniform since 2007.
"I don't remember the last one but I'm just happy to get that first home run out of the way in a Twins uniform at Target Field," Hunter said. "So it's pretty cool. We really needed those insurance runs."
"It's night and day compared to Monday. The last four or five days, we've been playing Twins baseball. Defensively, and offensively, we've been going first to third, and our pitchers have been throwing strikes and going after batters. So I like the way we're playing." -- Hunter on the Twins winning four of five after starting off the year with a 1-6 record.
"Our confidence level has got to stay high. We've got to keep pushing forward and take it one game at a time. Hitting is contagious, so we've just got to go up there and put up good quality at-bats." --Brantley, on Cleveland's struggles on offense.
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Joe Mauer celebrated his 32nd birthday on Sunday, and with a single in the sixth inning, he's now had a hit in all seven career games he's played in on his birthday.
In the ninth inning, Carlos Santana launched a 3-2 pitch from reliever J.R. Graham off the facing of the upper deck in right-center field for a leadoff home run. The blast was the second of the season for Santana and the 100th home run of his career.
"I was excited, because I've been working hard," Santana said. "The next goal is to make it to 200. You never know."
Indians: Right-hander Trevor Bauer (2-0, 1.50) will look to continue his strong start to the season in the opener of a three-game series against the White Sox on Monday at U.S. Cellular Field. In his last outing on Wednesday, Bauer held Chicago to two runs over six innings, in which he struck out eight and walked four. He has 19 strikeouts and only four hits allowed in 12 innings this season.
Twins: The Twins hit the road with a three-game series in Kansas City starting on Monday night at Kauffman Stadium. It's a rematch between Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson and Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez, who faced off at Target Field on Wednesday. Gibson was the winner in that game, allowing just one run over 6 2/3 innings.
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