Minneapolis, MN – Andrew Albers threw his first career shutout in just his second big league start as the Minnesota Twins blanked the Cleveland Indians, 3-0, in the opener of a three-game set at Target Field.
Albers (2-0), who pitched 8 1/3 shutout innings in his debut on Aug. 6, gave up a pair of hits and struck out two without issuing a walk. Albers became the first Twins pitcher to start a career with 17 1/3 scoreless frames.
"I'm not a guy that goes out there and lights up a radar gun or throws devastating secondary stuff. But I can pitch a little bit and so far I've been having a little bit of success," said Albers.
Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run homer and Brian Dozier added a solo shot for Minnesota, winners in four of their last five games.
Danny Salazar (1-1) gave up three hits, including both homers, and struck out five over four innings to absorb the loss.
Dozier cracked the second pitch he saw, a 92-mph fastball, into the seats in left-center leading off the second inning to give the Twins an early lead.
Oswaldo Arcia singled to open the second then scored on Plouffe's two-run blast to left to give Minnesota a three-run edge.
The Tribe nearly got to Albers in the fourth as Jason Kipnis scorched a two- out single to center field. It would be Cleveland's only baserunner until Yan Gomes reached on a bloop single to left in the eighth inning.
The southpaw from Saskatchewan retired the side in order in the ninth to seal the win.
"Unfortunately for us, that kid put on a clinic," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He doesn't overwhelm you with stuff. He attacks the strike zone with all of his pitches, any count. He dominated the game with a fastball that I don't think ever touched 90."
The last Twins pitcher to throw a shutout was Scott Diamond, who blanked the Indians on July 27, 2012. Diamond was replaced by Albers in the Twins' rotation last week ... Albers is just the third pitcher since 1991 to pitch nine innings and allow two or fewer base runners with two or fewer strikeouts ... Albers is the first pitcher to throw a shutout within first two career starts since Clay Buchholz in 2007 ... Cleveland has dropped seven of its last eight games.