MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — With Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion providing the power and Danny Salazar added to another deep pitching staff, the Cleveland Indians look ready to defend their American League championship.
Santana hit two of the Cleveland’s five home runs and Salazar continued his strong second-half stretch in the Indians’ 8-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night.
Santana, Jason Kipnis and Encarnacion all hit solo homers off Bartolo Colon (4-10) as Cleveland won its fifth straight overall and stayed unbeaten in eight games in Minnesota this season.
Austin Jackson added a three-run shot and Santana homered from both sides of the plate for the Indians, who have outscored the Twins 56-16 at Target Field this season.
“We’ve been playing some good baseball and guys have been feeding off each other,” Jackson said. “Seems like we’re just clicking on all cylinders right now; pitching, offensively, defensively, we’ve just been really sharp. We’ve been carrying over good baseball each and every day.”
Salazar (5-5) cruised through seven innings, surrendering one run and three hits. He struck out 10 while running his mark to 2-0 with a 1.39 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings in five starts since coming off the disabled list on July 22.
Salazar finished a season-high seven innings for the third time in his past five starts. Byron Buxton’s RBI single in the second inning opened the scoring, but Salazar retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced.
“I think the main thing for me is, like, feeling good,” Salazar said. “That was something that I wanted to be sure I was 100 percent good when I was coming off the DL. That’s the way I’m feeling right now.”
Colon gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings.
“Fastball; that’s what they all looked for,” Colon said. “Obviously those three home runs were fastball. But other than that, my off speed they couldn’t hit it tonight.”
HOME AWAY FROM HOME
Santana and Encarnacion have always enjoyed hitting in Minnesota’s unexpectedly power-friendly park. Santana has 18 homers this season overall. He tied Jose Bautista and Salvador Perez for the most homers by a Twins’ opponent in Target Field with 14 in 66 career games.
Encarnacion hammered his 27th homer of the year to the back row in the second deck in left field for his third straight game with a homer. He has five in the past five games overall and 12 in his 31 games in Target Field.
Colon worked around trouble in the first three innings, much like he had in previous starts. The solo home runs hurt the 44-year-old right-hander, who also walked four batters for just the second time in four seasons.
Colon also balked in the first inning, his first since 2005.
Indians: LHP Andrew Miller (right knee patella tendinitis) will make a one-inning rehab appearance in Triple-A on Wednesday and be activated on Friday before Cleveland begins a series in Kansas City. … OF Lonnie Chisenhall (right calf strain) played in a rehab game with Triple-A Columbus on Tuesday. He’s been out since July 11. Manager Terry Francona said the team wants Chisenhall to play both corner outfield spots before his return.
Twins: LHP Hector Santiago was pulled off his rehab assignment for upper thoracic back pain. The team is doing more tests to discover why Santiago hasn’t been able to return to full strength yet, as well as looking at other possible sources of injury. … LHP Glen Perkins completed his rehab assignment at Double-A Chattanooga after pitching on back-to-back days. The team will take the next few days to decide on the next step with its former closer, who hasn’t pitched in a game since April 10, 2016.
The Indians turn to RHP Carlos Carrasco (11-5, 3.83 ERA) on Wednesday as the Twins counter with RHP Kyle Gibson (6-9, 6.02). Carrasco is coming off an eight-inning, two-hit victory against Tampa Bay in his last outing. He beat Minnesota in Cleveland earlier this season with one run allowed and four hits in 6 1/3 innings. Gibson is 0-2 in three starts against the Indians this season, with seven runs allowed in 16 innings.
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