MINNEAPOLIS — The Cleveland Indians hope struggling Carlos Santana and Nick Swisher continue to hit like they did Tuesday night.
Having Danny Salazar pitch like he did won’t hurt either.
Santana homered among his season high-tying four hits and Salazar won in his first start in more than two months as the Indians beat the Minnesota Twins 8-2.
Cleveland won for the fourth time in six games since the All-Star break. Minnesota has lost four of five.
Santana, 3-for-18 coming in, hit a no-doubt solo shot to right field in the fifth to put the Indians up 4-1. He also had two doubles and a bunt single to beat a defensive shift to up his average to .214.
“When he’s going good, it makes us a whole different lineup,” said manager Terry Francona.
Swisher had his first three-hit game of the year.
“It seems like me and him kind of been riding the same boat all year long,” said Swisher, who entered the game hitless in his previous 10 at-bats and is now hitting .215. “Both of us popping out at the same time, same game is nice.”
Closer Cody Allen struck out pinch-hitter Chris Parmelee with a runner on third in a two-run game in the eighth inning before Cleveland scored four times in the ninth to negate a save opportunity when Carlos Carrasco pitched the ninth.
Minnesota’s Brian Dozier had three hits, including his career-high 19th home run in the seventh inning.
Making his first appearance in the majors since May 15, Salazar (2-4) scattered six hits and allowed one earned run in five-plus innings. He walked three and struck out six.
After eight starts with the Indians, Salazar was sent to Triple-A Columbus to work on his mechanics and build up arm strength to last deeper into games. He went 3-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 10 starts there, but was 2-1 with a 2.16 ERA in his last four outings while looking more like the right-hander who had a 3.12 ERA in 10 late-season starts for Cleveland last season.
“I thought he looked confident. He was a little but more aggressive in his delivery,” Francona said. “That was more of the stuff we had come to appreciate last year. If he’s going to pitch like that and move forward with it, what a shot in the arm for us.”
He was erratic as the Twins often worked him deep into counts, but Francona said Salazar was able to “reach back for his best stuff” and emerge relatively unscathed as Minnesota’s clutch hitting continued to be absent.
Minnesota was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and is 4-for-41 since the All-Star break.
“I don’t think you can point to anything,” Dozier said. “To be a good offensive team you need the total package. That’s getting guys on base and driving them in.”
Twins starter Yohan Pino (1-3) was sent to Triple-A Rochester after his July 10 start largely to remain on somewhat of a routine during the All-Star break. In his lone start with the Red Wings last Thursday, Pino allowed five runs and walked seven in five innings.
Yet, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire didn’t express much concern Monday.
“He told me he was just working on a few things, so we’ll leave it at that.”
Pino allowed seven hits and four earned runs in 6⅓ innings. He struck out five and didn’t issue a walk.
A double, hit by pitch and single loaded the bases for Cleveland with no outs in the second. Yan Gomes struck out looking before David Murphy hit a two-run single to right. A sacrifice fly by Mike Aviles made it 3-0.
Salazar issued three straight walks to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning, before striking out Sam Fuld and Danny Santana.
“I was trying to be too quick and I had to settle myself down with my delivery,” Salazar said.
Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera missed the game with back spasms that forced him out of Monday’s game. He’s considered day to day.
- Cleveland optioned right-handed reliever C.C. Lee to Columbus to clear room on its roster for Salazar.
- Cleveland RHP Trevor Bauer (4-4, 3.89 ERA) is scheduled to face Minnesota RHP Anthony Swarzak (1-0, 4.34 ERA), who will take Kyle Gibson’s start this afternoon. Gibson was scratched because of a stiff back.
- Dozier was named the Twins 2014 Heart and Hustle Award winner by the MLB Players Alumni Association. The award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game. The winner from the 30 team nominees will be announced Nov. 18.
WHO: Cleveland vs. Minnesota
WHERE: Target Field, Minneapolis
PITCHERS: Bauer (4-4, 3.89 ERA) vs. Swarzak (1-0, 4.34)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM