The Cleveland Indians try for their fourth straight win on Saturday as they continue their weekend set with the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field.
The Indians were off to the lead in the bottom of the second inning on Friday and never surrendered that advantage as they held on to win the series opener, 5-1.
Jason Kipnis was 1-for-3 with three RBI, helping break the game open in the seventh inning with a two-run single. Mark Reynolds and Drew Stubbs also notched an RBI for the home team.
Scott Kazmir buckled down for one of his best starts of the season, allowing five hits, no walks and one earned run in seven innings of work while striking out seven. With the stellar start, the erratic Kazmir managed to lower his ERA to 5.37.
"If we thought he would get through the whole year without some hiccups, that's probably unrealistic," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Kazmir. "This was more of the guy that we expect to see. He bounced back and pitched a really good game."
Samuel Deduno (3-2) was saddled with the loss for Minnesota by allowing four earned run over six innings, snapping his three-game winning streak in the process.
Brian Dozier knocked in the Twins' only run with a solo homer in the sixth inning, his seventh of the season.
On Saturday, the Twins will turn to P.J. Walters, who has been impressive since joining the rotation in late May, going 2-2 with a 3.23 ERA.
Walters did not fare so well in his latest outing, however, as he surrendered nine hits, three walks and four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings in a June 16 loss to Detroit.
The 28-year-old right-hander has struggled in two career starts against the Indians, yielding 16 hits, four walks and eight runs in less than 10 innings of work, but he escaped both previous outings with no-decisions.
Cleveland will counter with Corey Kluber, who has been a bright spot in the rotation with a 5-4 record and a 3.58 ERA.
Kluber has been especially impressive of late with back-to-back wins. After allowing one earned run over eight innings versus the Rangers on June 11, he followed that up with another gem on June 16, pitching eight scoreless innings against the Nationals with eight strikeouts and no walks.
"He's getting better right in front of our eyes," Francona said of his 27- year-old right-hander. "We're really proud of him."
Kluber faced off against the Twins back on May 5, allowing three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 4-2 loss.
The Indians have gotten the best of the Twins in three of the past four outings.