Joe Mauer came through with a clutch two- out RBI single in the eighth inning to lift the Minnesota Twins over the Cleveland Indians, 3-2, in the opener of a three-game set at Target Field.
Pedro Florimon singled off Joe Smith (4-1) to begin the eighth. Brian Dozier reached first when first baseman Nick Swisher dropped Lonnie Chisenhall's throw from third. Florimon advanced to third on a Trevor Plouffe double play. Mauer then delivered a line drive base hit to center to break the tie and give the Twins a 3-2 lead.
"In a game like that, you don't want to ever give them extra opportunities and it came back to haunt us," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Plouffe had two RBI and Florimon scored twice for the Twins, who have won three straight following a six-game skid.
Casey Fien (2-2) pitched a the eighth frame to earn the win. Glen Perkins tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning to secure the victory and collect his 22nd save of the season. Florimon made a sparkling defensive play by diving to take a hit away from Michael Brantley to lead off the ninth.
Michael Bourn went 2-for-4 while driving in both runs for the Indians, who had their four-game win streak broken.
Indians starter Scott Kazmir continued to pitch well despite a mediocre record. He allowed two unearned runs on two hits and three walks in six frames. Kazmir has a 1.95 earned run average over his last six starts with just two wins to show for it.
Mike Pelfrey tossed 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks while fanning five.
"I just wasn't making pitches," Pelfrey admitted. "Luckily guys made plays behind me."
Chisenhall led off the third with a double to center field and Drew Stubbs was pegged in the elbow to put two runners on with one out. Bourn sliced a full- count fastball to the left-center field wall for a two-run double.
Florimon reached on a two-out walk in the sixth. Dozier's ground ball went in and out of third baseman Chisenhall's glove for an error and went proceeded to roll into no-man's land by second which put both runners into scoring position. Plouffe connected on a single that dropped in front of Stubbs in left to tie the game.
Ryan Doumit stood on second base with no outs in the seventh, but Minnesota couldn't find a way to bring him in. After a strikeout, Aaron Hicks' groundout advanced Doumit to third, but Clete Thomas went down looking to end the inning.
Jason Kipnis walked with two outs in the top of the eighth, but was caught trying to steal second.
Minnesota recalled first baseman Chris Colabello from Triple-A Rochester prior to the game ... Cleveland's pitching staff has not allowed a home run in 68 straight innings ... The Indians finished 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position, while Minnesota went 2-for-8.