MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — After cruising through Cleveland’s lineup for much of the evening, Kevin Correia finally made a mistake. With speedy Michael Bourn on base in the sixth, Correia “got a little quick” and left a pitch up in the strike zone for Jason Kipnis.
Kipnis crushed it into the left-field seats to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead.
“I feel like that’s how the last two months have gone,” Correia said.
But what happened next sure wasn’t. The Twins responded with three runs in the bottom half, Correia (7-6) won a start for the first time in a month, and Minnesota beat the Indians 3-2 for its fourth-straight win.
“I feel like it was a flashback to like, eight games,” Correia said. “I feel like if I would stop doing that, I would have 15 wins right now.”
Not quite that dramatic, but Correia has left with his team leading only once in the last nine games. He’s allowed homers in his last three starts. Still, he looked sharp for most of the night against the Indians. He allowed only three hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau each had two hits and a walk, and the Twins offense took advantage of two costly infield mistakes by the Indians in the sixth to take the lead for good.
“When you’re getting four or five hits, you’ve got to play a clean game,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.
The Indians failed to gain ground on Detroit, which maintained a 1½-game lead in the AL Central. Corey Kluber put Cleveland in good position to close the gap with five shutout innings before leaving the game with tightness in his left hip in the sixth. Afterward, Kluber said the pain had been constant throughout the game.
“I was a little off to start the game, whether it was that or something else, I’m not sure,” he said. “Obviously I would have liked to have gone more than five innings, but they wanted me to get out of there before it got to a point where I hurt myself.”
The Indians have lost two straight after heading into the All-Star break with a four-game winning streak.
“It’s still late July, there’s still time,” Kipnis said. “We’re not losing too much ground, thankfully. But if we want to get where we want to be, we’re going to have to start winning games, and these are games that we need to be winning.”
Cleveland’s lineup sputtered against Correia early, failing to reach base in the first three innings. Kluber was just as good, though, not allowing a run for the second-consecutive start. Minnesota had base runners in each of the first three innings against Kluber, but he didn’t allow any of them past second.
Things turned in Minnesota’s favor when Rich Hill (1-2) came out for the sixth instead of Kluber, thanks in part to a bad throw from Lonnie Chisenhall at third. With runners on second and third and no one out, Ryan Doumit reached on a fielder’s choice when Chisenhall tried to get Mauer at the plate. Chisenhall’s throw sailed past catcher Carlos Santana’s glove, and Mauer scored to start the rally.
Chris Colabello followed with his first-career RBI, and Clete Thomas reached base when Kipnis bobbled a double-play ball, allowing Doumit to score to put Minnesota up 3-2.
“Tipping our hat to our guys, we went out there and took advantage of that,” said bench coach Terry Steinbach, who took over when Twins manager Ron Gardenhire left with stomach bug. “Got the guys in that we needed to score that inning, put ourselves ahead and gave our bullpen a chance to win that game.”
Brian Duensing, Jared Burton and Casey Fien combined for two scoreless innings, and Glen Perkins pitched the ninth for his 23rd save in 25 chances.
Notes: The announced attendance of 38,626 was Minnesota’s fifth sellout of the season. … Francona confirmed RHP Zach McAllister was “good to go” to start Tuesday at Seattle after missing six weeks with a sprained middle finger on his throwing hand. McAllister threw a bullpen session on Saturday. Asked if he views McAllister’s return as having the same impact as a mid-season trade to shore up the rotation, Francona said: “You can look at it like we’re getting a guy that we haven’t had. That’s actually a nice way to look at it.” … Colabello is 1-8 since being recalled Friday after making a name for himself as a Triple-A slugger. “He’s earned a shot here to get some swings. Everybody’s going to go through the nerves part of it. Hopefully he’ll get past that,” Gardenhire said. Colabello has three career hits, all singles. The Twins go for the sweep Sunday when they send Scott Diamond (5-8) to the mound. Cleveland counters with Justin Masterson (10-7).
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