CLEVELAND -- It was a night of ending streaks for the Twins, and it ended with an important win over the division-leading Indians.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson snapped his 12-game winless streak with a strong outing, James Dozier ended an 0-for-20 drought with a two-run homer and the Twins put an end to Corey Kluber's string of 26 starts of allowing three runs or fewer in a 6-3 victory over Cleveland on Friday night at Progressive Field. It helped Minnesota move within five games of the Indians.
"I think it was just a big team win for us," Gibson said. "We're almost halfway through the season and we're not where we want to be. We've been in a lot of close games that have gone the wrong way, but we've got a little bit of urgency here. We've got a lot of goals as a team that we want to hit. Unfortunately we haven't lived up to our own expectations so far, but we're not far off."
Gibson, who hadn't picked up a win since his first start of the season, outpitched Kluber, allowing one run on three hits and four walks over seven innings to lower his ERA to 3.27 on the year.
"There's no complaints around here about how Gibby's been throwing the ball," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Can't explain some things that happen. For him to go whatever it was, 10 or 11 weeks, as well as he's been pitching. But we backed him up a little bit tonight, got to a tough pitcher."
Kluber had a rare off-night, as the Twins got to him early with Eddie Rosario crushing a solo blast in the first. It was the fifth homer for Rosario in his last three games against Cleveland, which were all won by Minnesota.
Rosario helped spark another rally in the fourth with a leadoff double, and Eduardo Escobar drew a walk to end Kluber's streak of 46 1/3 innings without issuing a free pass. Logan Morrison then reached on a throwing error from shortstop Francisco Lindor, who tried to turn a double play, allowing Rosario to score. Dozier, hitting fifth for the first time in exactly two years, made the Indians pay with a two-run homer to left to end his recent funk.
"He responded," Molitor said. "He hit a couple of balls sharply, including the home run, which was really good to see."
Kluber turned in his worst outing of the year, going a season-low five innings and giving up a season-worst four runs. It was the most runs he had allowed in a home start since April 15, 2007, and he registered a season-low four swings and misses.
"If there was anything different, at all, I didn't see as many chase sliders as I've seen in the past," Molitor said. "We saw some cutters and two-seamers, but that's just one thing I noticed. I didn't see our guys really look fooled on that hard breaking ball."
The Indians went to the bullpen despite Kluber throwing only 65 pitches, and the Twins added two insurance runs in the sixth keyed by back-to-back singles from Escobar and Morrison and a second throwing error from Lindor on another botched double-play attempt. A balk from reliever Dan Otero brought home the other run.
Gibson, meanwhile, cruised through seven innings and didn't give up a run until the sixth on a two-out RBI single from Yan Gomes after walking Jose Ramirez and Jason Kipnis. But he bounced back to throw a 1-2-3 seventh, completing seven innings for a second straight start.
The Indians made it interesting in the ninth with two runs against reliever Taylor Rogers, but closer Fernando Rodney came in to strike out Lindor for the final out and extend his save streak to 13.
"It got a little exciting there at the end and I had to bring Fernando in there to close it out," Molitor said. "But a good win to start the series."
Over his last 162 games, dating back to June 11, 2017, Rosario is hitting .311/.350/.564 with 37 homers, 44 doubles, 107 RBIs and 102 runs scored.
"He's been so good," Gibson said. "That guy has just been a spark plug. He's done such a great job putting up runs early and getting big hits. The walk-off homers, the go-ahead homers. He's a guy that's never intimidated up there. It doesn't matter who he's facing. He's seeing the ball really well, and he's putting a lot of really good swings on the ball."
HE SAID IT
"I think in general as an offense, we're still waiting to get going. I think a night like tonight could really spark us against a guy who's been dominant all year. Just to see us come out with that kind of confidence and put that many good swings on Kluber." -- Gibson
Rookie right-hander Fernando Romero (3-2, 3.92 ERA) will take the mound for the Twins in the second game of the series on Saturday at 3:10 p.m. CT. Romero picked up a win last time out, allowing two earned runs in five innings against the Angels on Sunday. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (8-4, 3.90 ERA) starts for Cleveland.