Milone, 'pen lead Twins to series win over Tribe

Milone, 'pen lead Twins to series win over Tribe

MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-hander Tommy Milone handcuffed the Indians for five innings and the Twins' bullpen followed suit on Sunday afternoon, leading Minnesota to a 4-1 victory over the Tribe and sealing a series win at Target Field.

Milone -- activated from the disabled list before the game after dealing with a left elbow injury -- limited Cleveland to one run on three hits in his return to the rotation. Following his exit, the Twins' relief corps combined for four shutout innings to clinch the win, which pushed Minnesota (59-58) back over the .500 mark.

"It's a nice way to finish the homestand," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "You're not sure what you're going to get when he comes off the DL, but he spun five pretty good innings."

The showing by Minnesota's pitching staff overcame another strong effort from Indians starter Carlos Carrasco, who only allowed two runs in his seven innings, in which the big righty struck out seven and walked three. His lone blemish came in the second, when Kurt Suzuki delivered a two-run double that proved damage enough to deal the starter a hard-luck defeat.

Suzuki's two-run single

"He stayed out there and gave up two," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "On a lot of days, we're saying, 'OK, he fought some things, but he gave up two and we had a great game.' We just struggled offensively today and, because of that, every time they score, it's so impactful."

Trevor Plouffe provided some insurance with a solo homer off Tribe righty Zach McAllister in a two-run eighth inning for Minnesota.

Plouffe's solo homer

First impressions: Suzuki made his first-ever at-bat against Carrasco count in the second inning. The Twins' catcher punished an elevated 0-2 fastball for a two-out, two-run single to left-center. The five hits the Twins managed between the second and third innings combined equaled the total number of hits Carrasco had allowed in his previous 26 innings.

"I just missed the spot and it cost me two runs," Carrasco said. "I was supposed to throw down and away and I just went a little bit middle, up. That got that base hit and two runs."

Game of inches: Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor nearly collected the sharp grounder that Eduardo Nunez sent up the middle in the second inning, but the ball nicked off the rookie's glove and skipped into center field for a double. Suzuki took advantage one batter later. More >

"He had a shot. It's just one of those things," Francona said. "It's a tough play and, where it goes in center field, that's just luck of the draw."

Raburn's return: Utility man Ryan Raburn hadn't played for the Tribe since Aug. 7, but he made an impact in his first start since being activated from the bereavement list. In the second inning, Raburn doubled to left field off Milone and later scored on Abraham Almonte's sacrifice fly. Raburn has hit .301 (37-for-123) against lefty pitching this year. In the eighth, though, Raburn struck out against righty Kevin Jepsen, stranding two runners.

Jepsen escapes a jam

"Any time you get on the field, it's a blessing," Raburn said, "especially to get a hit right out of the gate. It was great. I wish I could've come through there at the end in my last at-bat. I wasn't able to, but any time you get out there, it's great. I just wish we would've won."

Great escape: Milone got into a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning, surrendering a double and walking two before escaping the trouble by striking out Yan Gomes on a curveball in the dirt. The 25-pitch inning signaled the end of the afternoon for the lefty making his first start since coming off the DL. More >

Milone escapes a jam

"I took a cue from Duffey's start yesterday," Milone said. "I think all but one of his strikeouts were breaking balls in the zone. They're very aggressive. I took that and put it in the back of my mind. If you get two strikes, expand the zone."

"You know what? I really don't care about that. I just care about giving an opportunity for the team to win the game, and going deep in the game, too." -- Carrasco, on having only one win in his last four starts, despite turning in a 1.36 ERA

Gomes' strikeout with the bases loaded in the fifth dropped Cleveland's team average to an American League-low .149 (13-for-87) with the bags full this season. Oddly enough, the Indians lead the Majors with 15 bases-loaded walks this year.

In the eighth inning, Eddie Rosario sent a pitch from McAllister off the top of the wall in right field and bouncing back into the outfield, opening the door for a triple. After a 42-second crew chief review to confirm that it was not a home run, Rosario was officially credited with his ninth triple of the season. That tied Miguel Oliva's 1964 club record for triples by a rookie in one season. Rosario then scored on a bunt single by Nunez.

Umpires review Rosario's triple

Indians: The Tribe will travel to Fenway Park on Monday for the opener of a three-game series against the Red Sox. Taking the ball for the Indians in the 7:10 p.m. ET clash will be hard-throwing righty Danny Salazar (10-6, 3.26 ERA), who has a 1.48 ERA and .144 opponents' average in his past six outings. Cleveland might also have outfielder Michael Brantley back in the lineup after a bout with a left shoulder issue.

Twins: The Twins head to the Bronx on Monday for the start of a three-city trip with three against the AL East-leading Yankees. Kyle Gibson toes the rubber for Minnesota in this 6:10 pm CT matchup. He has a 1-3 mark in four career starts against New York with a 10.70 ERA, but his lone win came at Yankee Stadium on July 14, 2013, when he allowed two earned runs on five hits over five innings.

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Jordan Bastian is a reporter for Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. Kerry Walls is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.