MINNEAPOLIS — Mitch Garver homered and six Minnesota pitchers combined for a two-hitter to propel the Twins to their third consecutive victory, 3-1, over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 2, in Minneapolis.
Max Kepler added two doubles and scored twice and Jorge Polanco had two hits and an RBI for the Twins, who increased their American League Central Division lead to 2 ½ games over the Indians.
Devin Smeltzer (1-0), the second Minnesota pitcher, picked up the victory, allowing one run on two hits over 2 2/3 innings. He walked one and struck out two. Sergio Romo pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to garner his second save.
Aaron Civale (1-1) took the loss despite tying his career-high with nine strikeouts. Civale allowed three runs on five hits in six innings and didn’t walk a batter.
Minnesota took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Kepler led off with a ground-rule double down the right field line and scored on a bloop single to left by Polanco.
Garver made it 2-0 in the second when he led off with his first home run of the season, a 412-foot line drive into the seats in left-center. Nelson Cruz picked up his 12th RBI of the season an inning later to extend the lead to 3-0, driving in Kepler who had doubled off the wall in right.
The Indians snapped a 15-inning scoreless drought in the fourth when Cesar Hernandez led off with a double and scored one out later on a Francisco Lindor single that one-hopped the left field fence. Lindor was then thrown out by Eddie Rosario trying to stretch the hit into a double.
Minnesota pitchers combined to hold the Indians to just four runs on 16 hits in the four-game series.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona returned to the team’s hotel prior to the game with a minor gastrointestinal issue that the team said was not related to COVID-19. First base coach Sandy Alomar Jr. took over managing duties for the contest.