CLEVELAND (AP) — Chris Colabello isn’t taking a single moment in the majors for granted.
After spending seven seasons playing independent ball in Canada, Colabello has finally made the big time and he’s savoring every pitch, every swing and every game.
And so far, he’s made the most of each one.
Colabello drove in four runs to raise his AL-leading total to 11, Brian Dozier scored three times and the Minnesota Twins outslugged the Cleveland Indians 10-7 on Sunday to take two of three games in the series.
Colabello, who spent 2005 to 2011 paying his dues in the Canadian-American Association before signing with the Twins in 2012, broke a 6-6 tie with a three-run double in the sixth inning off Blake Wood (0-1). The 30-year-old Colabello also had an RBI single in the fourth as the Twins concluded a season-opening road trip before playing their home opener Monday.
“It’s awesome,” Colabello said of his fast start. “Every day I get to spend in the big leagues is awesome, regardless of how many hits I get or production. Obviously, it’s nice to help the team and contribute. It’s been exciting. It’s fun to wake up every morning and do my job.”
Joe Mauer had three hits and scored twice for the Twins, who took advantage of wildness by Cleveland pitchers. Of Minnesota’s 10 runs, seven were set up by either a walk or hit batter.
Anthony Swarzak (1-0) picked up the win in relief of Twins starter Ricky Nolasco, and Glen Perkins worked a perfect ninth for his second save.
“It was a crazy game,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “A lot of stuff happened. I’m glad we won.”
David Murphy had four hits, Jason Kipnis had three RBIs and Yan Gomes hit a two-run homer for Cleveland.
Indians starter Justin Masterson didn’t get through four innings, but got his second straight no-decision. He pitched seven shutout innings at Oakland on opening day.
After the Indians rallied from a 6-2 deficit on Kipnis’ three-run double in the fourth and Murphy’s RBI double in the fifth, the Twins loaded the bases in the sixth when Wood walked Dozier, put Mauer on intentionally and then hit Jason Bartlett. Colabello, who turned down a $1 million offer this winter to play in Korea, then cleared the bags.
Gardenhire is impressed with how well Colabello, who was the International League MVP and played in 55 games for the Twins last season, has adapted.
“Coming into the spring he had a chance to go overseas and make some pretty good money,” Gardenhire said. “He elected to stay here because he wanted to play in the big leagues. It’s worked out for him. He’s taken full advantage. It’s a good story. ”
Masterson lasted only 3 2-3 innings, allowing five runs and seven hits. He walked three, hit two and needed 97 pitches to get 11 outs. It wasn’t the type of performance the Indians are accustomed to from their No. 1 starter, who couldn’t reach agreement on a long-term contract during talks with the club during spring training.
“It seemed like it was one of those days in general,” Masterson said. “You want to make some adjustments, but it just didn’t happen.”
Bartlett was forced to play in the outfield for just the second time as a pro, and a had rough day.
Bartlett, who was brought in after Josh Willingham was hit in the wrist by Masterson, misplayed the carom off the angled outfield wall on Kipnis’ double, couldn’t handle a sinking liner to left-center and was hit by a pitch.
“Goodness gracious, the wind was brutal out there in left field,” Gardenhire said. “It was a tough one for him, but we had no choice. We’ve got a couple of infielders who have to play the outfield in those situations. We have to figure something out.”
NOTES: Gardenire received dozens of text messages after getting his 1,000th career win on Saturday. Former players such as Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter and Jim Thome all checked in, but Gardenhire joked he was disappointed not to hear from the First Fan. “The President didn’t call,” he said. “But I know Mr. Obama is a White Sox fan.” … X-rays on Willingham’s wrist were negative. The Twins were already down one outfielder because Oswaldo Arcia missed his second straight game with a sore wrist. Gardenhire said Arcia will be evaluated Monday. … Mauer was 4 for 21 entering the day.
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