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Fernando Romero on the mound Saturday in Cleveland

Friday 6-3 win is Gibson's first since March

June 16, 2018 - 5:40 am
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CLEVELAND (AP) - Fernando Rodney gets the start Saturday afternoon in Cleveland as the Twins go for their fifth straight win over the Indians. 

The Twins took Friday's opener 6-3 behind the pitching of Kyle Gibson and home runs from Eddie Rosario and Brian Dozier.

So far this season, the Twins are 5-2 against the Tribe. They split that series in Puerto Rico in April. Two weeks ago the Indians won the opener of a four-game series at Target Field before the Twins took the final three.

Carlos Carrasco is on the mound for the Indians in the middle game of the three-game weekend series.

The Twins have split the first four games of their current six-game road trip that ends Sunday. They return to Target Field Tuesday to start a six-game homestand against the Red Sox and Rangers.

Corey Kluber had a rare rocky performance in the first meeting of the season between the AL Central rivals at Progressive Field, lasting just five innings and losing for the first time in seven starts as Gibson outpitched the Cy Young winner .

   Kluber (10-3) allowed a homer on his fourth pitch of the game to Rosario and was pulled after throwing just 65 pitches by manager Terry Francona.

   It was the shortest outing this season for the All-Star, who came in 5-0 with a 0.76 ERA against AL Central teams and was riding several other impressive streaks.

   Gibson (2-4) limited the Indians to one run and three hits in seven innings and got his first win since his season debut on March 31.

"There's no complaints around here on how Gibby's been throwing the ball," said Twins manager Paul Molitor. "Can't explain some things that happened for him to go whatever it was, 10-11 weeks (without a win), as well as he's been pitching."

  Gibson has been the victim of a lack of offensive support as well as a few meltdowns by the Twins' bullpen.

"We backed him up a little bit tonight, got to a tough pitcher," said Molitor.

   Yan Gomes homered in the ninth and the Indians closed to 6-3 before closer Fernando Rodney struck out Francisco Lindor with one on for his 15th save.

   The Twins came into the series struggling at the plate and figured to have a tough time with Kluber, who has been as dominant this season as any stretch of his career and was seeking to become baseball's first 11-game winner.

   Kluber, though, wasn't Kluber.

   With Joe Mauer returning from the disabled list after missing 25 games with a strained neck and concussion-like symptoms, Minnesota manager Paul Molitor dropped Dozier from the leadoff spot to No. 5 and the second baseman responded with his two-run homer in the fourth and three RBIs.

   Lindor had two more errors, giving the Indians All-Star shortstop 10 this season, tying his total from 2017.

   Dozier put the Twins ahead 4-0 in the fourth inning, when Kluber allowed his first walk in seven starts.

   After Rosario doubled leading off, Kluber threw four balls to Eduardo Escobar, snapping his string without a walk at 46 1/3 innings - the longest for a Cleveland pitcher in 11 years. Rosario then scored when Lindor's return throw to first after a force out nearly went into Minnesota's dugout.

   Dozier followed by snapping a 0-for-20 slump with his 10th homer, a shot that barely cleared the wall in left to make it 4-0 and put Kluber in an unfamiliar hole. The steady-and-stoic star had not given up more than three runs in a game since Aug. 3, a span of 27 starts and testament to his consistency.

 "He's not really a guy where anybody's too comfortable getting behind or hitting with two strikes," Molitor said about Kluber. "A lot of our damage was aggressive at-bats, Rosie first pitch and Doz I think maybe second pitch of his at-bat, so we were trying to get after him a little bit."

   Rosario has tormented Cleveland's pitching all season, and he gave the Twins a 1-0 lead in the first when he connected on Kluber's first pitch for his 15th homer - and fourth against the Indians.

   It was Rosario's second homer on consecutive pitches against the Indians. He hit three homers, including a walk-off in the ninth, to lead Minnesota to a win over Cleveland on June 3.

   The Indians were without starting first baseman Yonder Alonso, who was placed on the family-medical-emergency list and will miss at least this series.

   Twins outfielder Byron Buxton (toe fracture) is working out with the team and could begin a minor league rehab assignment in a few days. He was injured May 29 and placed on the disabled list the following day.