MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kevin Slowey handcuffed Cleveland's struggling offense for eight innings and the Minnesota Twins scored four runs in a quirky third inning to beat the Indians 5-1 Tuesday night.
Slowey (2-1) gave up one run on five hits with nine strikeouts and no walks and Justin Morneau had two hits and an RBI for the Twins.
Travis Hafner hit his second homer of the season for Cleveland, which got just four innings out of starter Justin Masterson (1-1) and returned to their losing ways on the road.
Masterson gave up five hits, five runs — only two earned — and struck out six. But he also walked five, hit one batter and needed 96 pitches to get through those four innings.
The Indians came unglued in the third inning after shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera let a ground ball that would have started an inning-ending double play go right between his legs. Instead, the Twins had the bases loaded and one out.
That was only the beginning.
Masterson walked J.J. Hardy to score one run. Then he threw a wild pitch and booted catcher Lou Marson's throw to him at the plate, allowing Michael Cuddyer to score from third and Delmon Young to race all the way around from second base. Brendan Harris followed with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Hardy for a 5-1 lead.
The way the Twins have been hitting with runners in scoring position this season, they need all the help they can get. They entered the game just 3 for 19 with the bases loaded and missed another chance in the second inning when AL MVP and batting champ Joe Mauer, who went 0 for 4, grounded out to first base.
Despite those troubles, the Twins were still tied for second in the AL with 5.3 runs per game when the day began.
Not so for the Indians, who entered the day last in the AL in batting average (.219) and slugging percentage (.343) and second to last in runs scored (3.75 per game).
Hafner hit a solo homer in the second inning, but Slowey allowed only one runner past first base the rest of the way. Even against an offense as inept as Cleveland's has been, it was an encouraging sign for Slowey, who lasted just five innings and had several disagreements with Mauer on pitch selection in a loss to Boston last week.
He rebounded, missing his career high in strikeouts by one and didn't walk a batter in a dominating performance.
Shin-Soo Choo, the reigning AL player of the week after an impressive series against the Chicago White Sox, went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.
NOTES: The umpires reviewed a drive by Indians LF Austin Kearns in the fifth inning, confirming the initial ruling that the ball hit the top of the fence and bounced back into play and was a double. ... Indians backup C Mike Redmond returned to the Twin Cities. He spent five seasons as Mauer's backup with the Twins and was one of the most popular players in the clubhouse. Indians manager Manny Acta said Redmond would be in the lineup on Wednesday night. ... The Twins held a moment of silence for Colorado Rockies president Keli McGregor, who died on Tuesday.