A day after becoming the first major league team to clinch a playoff berth this year, the Minnesota Twins rested most of their regulars and beat the Cleveland Indians 5-1 Wednesday behind the pitching of Nick Blackburn to complete a three-game sweep.
Minnesota clinched its sixth division title in nine years late Tuesday when the Chicago White Sox lost at Oakland.
Blackburn (10-10) became the sixth Minnesota pitcher to reach double digits in victories, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings.
Jose Morales had three RBIs and Alexei Casilla had three hits for Minnesota, which has won nine of 11 and improved its record at new Target Field to 52-25.
Carlos Carrasco (1-1) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings.
WINNING PITCHER: Blackburn (10-10, 5.23)
LOSING PITCHER: Carrasco (1-1, 3.03)
FIRST PITCH: 12:11 pm GAME TIME TEMP: 60, winds from E at 10 mph TIME OF GAME: 2:22 ATTENDANCE: 40,139
- The Indians are now 6-12 vs. the Twins this season and have been outscored 100-62.
- The Indians lost 90-plus games for the second consecutive season after losing 97 in 2009.
- Carlos Carrasco made his 10th career Major League start and fifth this season…he is 1-1, 2.79 (19.1 ip, 6 er) in his last three starts.
- Carrasco has allowed just three runs in 13.1 innings against the Twins this season with 11 hits allowed, three of which have gone for extra-bases.
- Carrasco allowed just one hit to his first 19 batters today until allowing three runs on five hits in the sixth inning.
- Travis Hafner has hit safely in each of his last nine games in Minnesota, dating back to 2009…he is hitting .393 (11-for-28) in Target Field.
- Matt LaPorta is batting .288(15-for-52) vs. the Twins this season and .210 (63-for-300) vs. the rest of the American League.
- Michael Brantley has hit safely in 21 of his last 22 games and in 29 of his last 31 since August 15.
- The Twins swept an opponent for the ninth time this season and eighth sweep at Target Field.
- They are now 52-25 at Target Field, 16-4 in September and 46-20 against the American League Central.
- Nick Blackburn is 3-3, 1.97 (45.2 ip, 10 er) with 10 walks, 11 strikeouts and an opponent batting average of .213 (35-for-164) in seven games (six starts) since returning from Rochester…he is 23-10 for his career in home games…Blackburn has now reached double-digit wins for the third straight season.
- Jose Morales started at first base for the first time in his career…he had never played first base in a Major League or Minor League game, prior to today…Michael Cuddyer had started at 67 consecutive games at first base for the Twins since July 8…Morales became just the sixth different Twin to make a start at first base since the start of 2008 (Morneau, Cuddyer, Buscher, Lamb and Harris)…additionally, Ben Revere got his first start in left field for the Twins.
- Five of the 10 players starting for the Twins today, played at Triple-A Rochester at some point this season (Blackburn, Valencia, Tolbert, Morales, Repko).
- Alexi Casilla set a career-high for triples in a season with his fourth…38th team triple this season, which is the most of any American League club…first three-hit game for Casilla since July 25 at Baltimore.
- Four of Matt Tolbert’s last five hits have been for extra-bases…he has 10 rbi in his last 10 games played…his third multi-hit game of the season today.
- The Hafner eighth inning single was the first hit Brian Fuentes had allowed since being acquired by the Twins…he has yet to allow a run while with Minnesota (5.1 ip)…he has walked just two batters in that span.
- The Twins announced their 75th sellout of the season and 74th consecutive with an attendance of 40,139 for today’s game…the Twins have now drawn a total of 3,063,327 fans this season, marking a club record and passing their previous record of 3,030,672, set in 1988.