MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins started out their series against Cleveland with plenty of promise when they pounded out five runs in the first inning.
They haven’t scored since then.
Indians rookie lefty T.J. House threw shutout ball into the sixth inning, combining with four relievers to pitch the Indians past the Twins 5-0 Wednesday night.
House (2-3) gave up four hits while striking out five and walked three, as Cleveland extended Minnesota’s scoreless streak to 17 innings. The string started in Tuesday night’s 7-5 loss.
“Unfortunately we didn’t do anything offensively and you have to tip your hat to those guys on the other side,” manager Ron Gardenhire said after his team fell to a season-worst 15 games under .500. “They made pitches when they had to. He threw it up there and flipped it and spun it and we couldn’t do too awful much tonight.”
The Twins stranded nine runners, five of them in scoring position.
Mike Aviles homered among his three hits and drove in two runs. Rookie Zach Walters homered off Twins starter Ricky Nolasco (5-9), who gave up four runs in 6 2-3 innings, falling to 0-2 since coming off the disabled list.
“I thought I was a lot better today and made a lot of good pitches. A couple pitches I’d like to have back but at the end of the day I thought I threw the ball well,” said Nolasco, who missed 32 games with a right elbow problem.
“It’s getting there. It’s a step in the right direction as far as feeling good and being able to reach back here and there, to have that flexibility,” he said.
Nolasco has given up 17 home runs in 20 starts. No Twins pitcher has allowed more homers or lost more games this season than Nolasco, who signed a four-year, $48 million contract last December to anchor Minnesota’s rotation.
Aviles went 2 for 3 off the Twins’ starter and drove in the Indians’ third run with a broken-bat single. He’s now 7 for 11 with 4 RBIs in his career against Nolasco. Aviles added a ninth-inning homer off reliever Sam Deduno for good measure.
Twins 2B Brian Dozier became the sixth player in team history with a 20-20 season when he stole second base in the first inning. Torii Hunter was the last Twins player to accomplish the feat in 2004. Dozier, who also has 20 homers, posted career highs with 18 home runs and 14 stolen bases last year.
“I think it’s pretty cool. I’d be lying to you if I said it was one of my goals at the beginning of the year or whatever,” Dozier said. “But if you’re not winning games, nothing really tastes as good at the end of the day. That’s the main goal.”
Twins: RHP Kohl Stewart, the fourth pick in the 2013 MLB draft, was pulled from his start at Class A Cedar Rapids in the second inning on Tuesday night when his fastball was registering 5-to-7 mph slower than usual. Twins general manager Terry Ryan said he didn’t think Stewart’s situation was serious, and that he hoped Stewart would make another start before the end of the minor league season.
Indians: Corey Kluber (13-6) hasn’t lost since June 30 and can tie for the AL lead in victories if he wins his seventh straight decision on Thursday. Kluber has struck out 10 batters five times in his last eight starts.
Twins: Phil Hughes (13-8) also can tie for the AL lead in victories with a win Thursday. Hughes has won three straight starts, allowing just one earned run in each outing.
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