By STEVE HERRICK
CLEVELAND –Adalberto Mejia combined with three relievers on a four-hitter, leading the Minnesota Twins to a 5-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians in a matchup of the top two teams in the AL Central on Friday night.
Mejia (2-3) held Cleveland to two hits in five innings, but had to work around five walks and two errors. The left-hander got out of bases-loaded jams in the second and fourth and stranded nine Indians runners on base.
Cleveland was coming off a 7-1 road trip, including a four-game sweep at Target Field last weekend that gave the Indians first place in the division. The Twins are now 11/2 games back.
Tyler Duffey, Taylor Rogers and Trevor Hildenberger combined to pitch the final four innings.
Jorge Polanco’s two-run homer highlighted Minnesota’s four-run second off Trevor Bauer (6-6) and gave the Twins only their third win in 11 games against the Indians this season. Brian Dozier was 3 for 4 with two RBIs.
The Indians scored five or more runs and recorded 10 or more hits in nine straight games coming into this game, but stranded 11 runners and were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
Mejia, who struck out four, retired the side in order just once — in the fifth. He didn’t allow a hit until Lonnie Chisenhall’s slow roller toward third base to start the fourth. Daniel Robertson singled with one out and Mejia couldn’t handle Jason Kipnis’ tapper to the mound for an error that loaded the bases.
Erik Gonzalez, who struck out to end the second, whiffed again for the second out and Francisco Lindor lined out to left.
Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez wasn’t in the starting lineup despite a 10-game hitting streak that raised his average to .321. He grounded as pinch hitter to end the game against Hildenberger, who was making his major league debut.
Ramirez was 1 for 4 on Thursday, ending his streak of nine consecutive games with at least two hits.
Twins: 3B Miguel Sano (sinus infection) was not in the lineup after his symptoms worsened during the team flight. He’s 2 for 23 in his career against Bauer.
Indians: OF Michael Brantley (sprained right ankle) ran on the treadmill Friday. He’s eligible to come off the 10-day DL on Monday.
Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson allowed three runs in six innings in a 5-2 loss to Cleveland on June 18. He is 0-3 with a 6.55 ERA in his last four starts against the Indians.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber posted his fifth career shutout in his last start, striking out a season-high 11 in a 12-0 victory at Baltimore.
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