MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — When Trevor Bauer’s foot slipped on the mound with the bases loaded, causing him to balk in a run, his outing hung in the balance.
The Cleveland Indians right-hander dug in, limited the damage and delivered his best performance of the season.
Bauer struck out seven in 6 1/3 innings and Carlos Santana had two doubles and two RBIs to lead the Indians over the Minnesota Twins 6-2 on Thursday.
Bauer (1-2) gave up two runs, three hits and three walks, lowering his ERA from 8.44 to 6.35. His balk came with one out in the fourth. He gave up a sacrifice fly to Jorge Polanco and then struck out Eddie Rosario to hold down the Twins.
“I seem to have an inning like that every start and the outcome of my start is kind of determined on how well I get through it and limit the damage,” Bauer said.
Andrew Miller pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and the Indians took all three games in a series that included a rainout Wednesday night.
Ervin Santana gave up one run, four hits and three walks over six innings for the Twins, who are 1-5 in a 10-game homestand.
“We had Bauer on the ropes there with the balk and the walks,” Brian Dozier said. “That’s been the thing the past few games, when you’ve got them on the ropes, that inning could be the deciding factor in the outcome of a game.”
Carlos Santana delivered another RBI double off of Taylor Rogers in Cleveland’s three-run seventh inning to jump in front 4-2.
Tyler Duffey (0-1) gave up two runs on two hits for the loss and the Indians tacked on two more in the ninth off of Ryan Pressly.
“I feel great, especially when my team is winning,” Carlos Santana said. “I’m more comfortable now and I love the park. I feel great, so I have to keep it up.”
Indians: Manager Terry Francona said 2B Jason Kipnis, on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, was on track to rejoin the team this weekend in Chicago.
Twins: LHP Ryan O’Rourke, on the DL since March with a strained forearm, flew from Florida to the Twin Cities for an examination. The Twins said there is no structural damage
Twins manager Paul Molitor was ejected in the eighth inning after plate umpire Alan Porter called Jason Castro out on strikes on a checked swing. Molitor wanted Porter to look for help from third base umpire Andy Fletcher. It was Molitor’s fifth career ejection and first this season.
“I thought there was some inconsistencies today, but probably not the difference in the game,” Molitor said. “I just felt on that particular check swing that it was close. I haven’t seen the video. But I just think that’s a hard call for him to make if he’s tracking the pitch.”
Ervin Santana didn’t have his best stuff on a chilly afternoon with an opening pitch temperature of 43 degrees. He had a streak of 22 straight scoreless innings snapped in the fifth when Carlos Santana doubled home Abraham Almonte.
“It was tough. It was hard to get a good grip for the ball,” he said after seeing his ERA rise to 0.64. “I don’t think about that. I was trying to make a good pitch.”
Twins CF Byron Buxton struck out again and his hitting .082. His 24 strikeouts lead the majors. But before the game, Molitor told reporters he is not contemplating sending his prized youngster back to Triple-A.
“We’re not at that point, so I don’t want to waste too much time talking about that,” Molitor said. “But obviously it’s not an unexpected question because people are going to wonder.”
Indians: Cleveland stays on the road, opening a series in Chicago against the White Sox on Friday. RHP Corey Kluber (1-1, 6.38) starts against Chicago LHP Jose Quintana (0-3, 6.75).
Twins: LHP Hector Santiago (1-1, 1.47) will take the mound on Friday to open a home series against RHP Justin Verlander (1-1, 5.71) and the Detroit Tigers.