CLEVELAND -- Right-hander Tyler Duffey has been a bright spot for the Twins since joining the rotation last month. On Sunday against the Indians, his work finally paid off in the form of a win in a 5-1 victory at Progressive Field.
Duffey (1-2) used seven shutout innings to help Minnesota to its first back-to-back wins since April 25-26, when the Twins also picked up two straight victories over the Tribe. It was also Minnesota's first series win on the road this year. Duffey's performance, which included six strikeouts and one walk, lowered his season ERA to 1.85 in four outings.
"It was really nice," Duffey said. "We needed it. We got one yesterday, and it gave us a little breathing room. Today we came out ready to roll and got another one. It'll be a happy flight to Detroit."
Run-scoring hits from Eddie Rosario and Juan Centeno in the second, and the first career home run by Jorge Polanco in the seventh, provided all the support Duffey needed. All three of those runs were charged to Tribe righty Trevor Bauer, who scattered five hits and struck out eight in 6 2/3 innings.
"If he throws like that, pitches like that, on a lot of nights, we're saying, 'Hey, man, he did a good job. He got us deep enough into the game where we could turn it over to the bullpen,'" Indians manager Terry Francona said. "But runs the last couple of nights have been hard to come by."
Rosario added a two-run double off Tribe righty Jeff Manship in the ninth.
Cleveland's lone offensive breakthrough came in the eighth inning, when second baseman Jason Kipnis belted a leadoff homer against Twins reliever Trevor May. The blast was the fifth of the year for Kipnis.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Two-out rally: The Twins were in danger of stranding Byung Ho Park at third with two outs in the second, but Rosario came through with a two-out single to score Park. Centeno, fresh off his first Major League homer on Saturday, followed with an RBI double into the right-field gap to give Minnesota an early two-run lead.
"We got a couple of big two-out hits early on with Rosie and Juan," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "And on the converse side, Duffey was able to get big outs with runners on there."
Two-out troubles: Duffey gave Cleveland few chances to score on Sunday afternoon. The most opportune time came in the third inning, when shortstop Francisco Lindor stepped up to bat following consecutive two-out base knocks, but he struck out swinging. It was one of a handful of times the Tribe was unable to convert with runners on and two outs.
"I felt like we just needed that one hit," Indians catcher Chris Gimenez said. "I give [Duffey] a lot of credit. He did a good job. He could have told you his curveball was coming, and everybody knew in the ballpark it was coming, but he did a good job. He's very deceptive because he's got kind of a long arm and he's a slinger. It's kind of tough to pick up a little bit." More >
Hip, hip, Jorge: Polanco, playing in his 18th career game and his ninth this season, connected on a his first big league homer in the seventh off Bauer. Polanco homered on a 2-2 fastball, and the ball left the bat at 103 mph, traveling a projected 402 feet to right-center, per Statcast™. It was the second game in a row in which the Twins had a player hit his first career home run.
"It felt good," Polanco said. "It was good to hit my first Major League home run. I was looking for a fastball. He threw me one middle-outside. I thought it was going to hit the wall, so I was thinking triple."
Bauer settles down: Bauer was scuffed up in the second inning, giving up two runs on a pair of two-out hits, including a double by Centeno. Following that hit, though, the 25-year-old righty recovered, holding the Twins to an 0-for-14 showing leading up to Polanco's blast in the seventh. Bauer struck out six in that span.
"Everything was pretty good, actually," Bauer said. "I need to throw more first-pitch strikes, but I got through it OK. ... I thought I had a really good spring as a starter, and I've continued that this season."
WHAT'S NEXT Twins: The Twins head to Detroit for a three-game series that begins on Monday at 6:10 p.m. CT at Comerica Park. Top prospect Jose Berrios (1-1, 6.28 ERA) is set to start. He is looking for his first quality start, as he's yet to go longer than 5 1/3 innings in his three outings.
Indians: Right-hander Cody Anderson (0-3, 7.31 ERA) is slated to start against the Reds at 6:10 p.m. ET on Monday at Progressive Field. Anderson's last outing was his first professional relief appearance, a 3 1/3-inning outing against the Astros on Wednesday. He retired the first nine batters he faced before giving up a walk-off two-run blast.