CLEVELAND (AP) — Kevin Correia’s trademark this season has been consistency.
Minnesota’s right-hander fell a bit short of that Saturday and the result was a 7-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
Correia (3-2) failed to go seven innings for the first time in six starts as the Twins lost for the fourth time in five games on their 10-game road trip.
Correia allowed four runs in five innings to snap his three-game winning streak.
“I just didn’t quite have as good of a command with a couple of my pitches as I’ve had the past few starts,” he said. “I fell behind a couple guys and they took advantage.”
Rookie outfielder Aaron Hicks, the Twins’ top prospect, hit his first major league home run to lead off the fifth, but Minnesota lost a second straight to the Indians.
“We’re not scoring runs, we’re not scoring enough to win ballgames right now,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Correia had early trouble finding the strike zone, throwing 56 pitches in the first two innings and giving up all four of his runs. He settled down by the third, surrendering only one hit in his final three innings.
“Correia had to battle through it, 102 pitches in five innings,” Gardenhire said. “Just kind of an effort just to stay out there, but he did. He hung in there and we kept trying to come back but we just didn’t hit.”
Nick Swisher, who hadn’t played since Monday, homered off Correia in the first. Jason Kipnis, who had three hits, also homered in the inning and added an RBI single in the second.
Scott Kazmir (1-1), a two-time AL All-Star who pitched in an independent league last season, allowed two runs in six innings. It was his first win since beating Tampa Bay on Sept. 19, 2010, while with the Angels.
“He’s an easy guy to pull for,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He loves to pitch. He wants so bad to make this work. We’re pulling for everybody. That’s the way we are, but it’s hard not to have a soft spot when you see what he’s been through.”
Cleveland has now won six straight for the first time since winning seven in a row April 26-May 3, 2011.
Hicks has struggled offensively in the first month, hitting .123. Gardenhire has vowed to stick with him and the rookie responded by clearing the 19-foot wall in left field with his home run. Hicks has hit safely in seven of his last nine games.
“It’s a nice feeling for the kid, and then he hit a missile from the left side too through (Kipnis’) legs, so a couple of good swings there, and that’s always good,” Gardenhire said. “We just need more of it as a whole.”
The Twins scored in the second on Pedro Florimon’s RBI single, but his misplay in the field helped the Indians add two in the bottom of the inning. After Michael Brantley’s single gave Cleveland a 3-1 lead, Florimon was unable to catch Kipnis’ popup that fell for a run-scoring single. The shortstop ranged into shallow left field, but the ball drifted away from him and dropped in.
“You could see him fighting it (the sun) the whole way. It looked like he had it, lost it, and then tried to pick it up at the end,” Gardenhire said. “By that time the ball’s going into the ground.”
Kipnis tripled in the seventh and scored on Asdrubal Cabrera’s double. Mark Reynolds scored Cabrera with a two-out single.
Ryan Doumit’s RBI single off Joe Smith in the eighth cut the lead to 6-3, but Chris Parmelee flied out with two on to end the inning. Ezequiel Carrera had an RBI single in the bottom of the inning.
Joe Mauer had a hit and a walk in three at-bats and is in a 5-for-42 slump.
NOTES: Hicks leads AL rookies in walks with 13. … Twins OF Oswaldo Arcia didn’t start Saturday after starting 12 consecutive games. He had a pinch-hit single in the seventh. … Mauer was the DH after catching 10 innings Friday. … The series ends Sunday when RHP Mike Pelfrey (2-3) faces RHP Corey Kluber (2-0).
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