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Newz Forum: BASEBALL: Indians Beat Twins 7-1, Nearing AL Lead

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posted on Aug, 14 2004 @ 11:54 PM
CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Cleveland Indians pulled within one game of the AL Central lead, scoring four runs in the first inning and beating the Minnesota Twins 7-1 Saturday night behind home runs by Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez.

Cleveland, which has not shared the division lead this late in the season since 2001, can tie the first-place Twins with a victory Sunday, which would complete a three-game sweep.

The Indians have won six straight and 10 of 11, gaining seven games on the Twins in 10 days. Minnesota, which has lost eight of 10, had a season-high six-game lead over the Indians and Chicago White Sox after last Sunday's games.

Jake Westbrook (11-5) won for the fifth time in six starts, giving up one run and five hits in seven innings. He was helped by inning-ending double plays in the fourth and fifth innings.

Hafner hit a two-run homer in the first inning, Casey Blake hit a solo shot and Ronnie Belliard's major league-leading 41st double off the wall in left scored Ben Broussard from first for a 4-0 lead. Martinez added a three-run homer in the fifth.

Indians fans have finally taken notice of the team's surge in recent weeks, with the first sellout crowd since opening day attending the game, 40,942. One fan's sign read: "PLAYOFF BOUND."

Fans rose to their feet in the seventh as Westbrook faced Michael Cuddyer with two runners in scoring position. Cuddyer grounded out to shortstop Omar Vizquel, ending the Twins lone threat.

Jody Gerut made a diving catch in right field on Cuddyer's drive with a runner on second to end the game.

Kyle Lohse (5-10) allowed seven runs and seven hits in five innings, losing his second straight start. Shannon Stewart homered in the sixth for the Twins.

Notes:@ Martinez has 82 RBIs, one shy of Sandy Alomar Jr.'s team season record for a catcher. ... After Martinez spun out of the way from a high inside pitch from Lohse in the third, the umpires had to restrain both managers after they stormed onto the field. ... Twins manager Ron Gardenhire came out to complain in the seventh after Jones' fly ball hit off the yellow line on the left-field wall and was not ruled a home run. Indians manager Eric Wedge made the same argument on Blake's triple in the third. ... Vizquel is hitting .356 (57-for-160) over his last 41 games. ... C Henry Blanco, who is .071 (2-for-28) in his last 11 games, had a strike called against him by plate umpire Mike Everitt when he was standing outside the batter's box in the sixth.

© 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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