CLEVELAND – Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis hit two-run homers, Zach McAllister won his third straight start and the Cleveland Indians defeated the Minnesota Twins 7-2 on Saturday night.
The win moved the Indians into third place in the crowded American League wild card race.
Santana’s two-run homer in the first got the Indians off to a quick start. Kipnis, who snapped an 0 for 19 skid with a first-inning single, homered in the third. Both home runs came off starter Liam Hendriks (0-2), who has lost 12 of his 13 career decisions.
McAllister (7-7) allowed two runs in 7 1-3 innings. Brian Dozier homered in the eighth and hit a sacrifice fly in the third for Minnesota’s only success against the right-hander, who has given up four earned runs in 19 2-3 innings in his winning streak.
Nick Swisher added a two-run double in the fifth for Cleveland, which won for only the second time in its last nine home games.
Kipnis reached in the first on a two-out single and scored when Santana homered to right. Kipnis’ homer bounced off the roof of Minnesota’s bullpen in right field, his first home run since July 21. Santana and Kipnis are tied for the team lead with 16 homers.
Hendriks, who was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to make the start, recorded his only career win at Progressive Field last season. The right-hander, a native of Australia, didn’t get the same results this time, allowing seven runs in 4 1-3 innings.
The Twins, who were 14-7 against the Indians since last September going into the game, couldn’t muster anything else against McAllister, who missed seven weeks earlier in the season because of a sprained middle finger on his pitching hand. He allowed two runs with seven strikeouts in six innings of a 5-2 win at Minnesota on Aug. 13.
The Indians, coming off a 6-3 road trip, looked flat in Friday night’s 5-1 loss in which they managed only six singles. Several Cleveland hitters have been struggling, including Michael Brantley, who broke an 0 for 22 slump with an RBI single in the fifth.
The Indians put the game away with the three-run fifth, which included three hits and two walks. A single by Drew Stubbs and a walk to Michael Bourn started the rally. Both runners scored on Swisher’s double to right-center. Hendriks was pulled one batter later. Anthony Swarzak walked Santana before Swisher scored on Brantley’s liner to left.
Hendriks was recalled to take the rotation spot of the ineffective Kyle Gibson, who was sent to Rochester earlier in the week. Hendriks’ only career win came against the Indians on Sept. 19 of last season when he allowed two runs in six innings in a 6-4 victory. That win snapped a string of 17 starts without a victory, the third-longest streak to begin a career in history.
The Twins announced before the game that catcher Joe Mauer, who was placed on the concussion list Tuesday, has been told by doctors to rest until early next week.