CLEVELAND — Progressive Field has seen plenty of bad baseball in 2009, most of it courtesy of the home team.
On Friday night, though, the clown shoe was on the other foot.
The Minnesota Twins committed four errors in a five-inning span and failed to come up with big hits when they needed them, allowing the Indians to post a 5-2 victory.
All five Tribe runs came during Minnesota’s defensive blooperfest with third baseman Jhonny Peralta knocking in a pair.
“At this level, it’s tough to get away with that — and we did take advantage of it,” said Cleveland manager Eric Wedge, whose squad was two days removed from a five-error outing of its own. “I thought you saw a lot of nice things out there tonight.”
Among the most encouraging sights for the Indians? Pitcher Jeremy Sowers, who went six solid innings to win his second straight decision, and rookie center fielder Michael Brantley, who went 2-for-5 with his first big-league RBI.
Sowers (6-9, 4.78 ERA) allowed two runs on six hits and did not issue a walk. The left-hander, who retired the first 10 batters, also struck out one and induced a key double play to end the fifth inning.
“Good defense is the pitcher’s best friend,” he said. “Since I’m not striking too many guys out, I need those guys to make plays for me. All season long, my defense has been impeccably good.
“I hope that I didn’t just jinx it by saying that.”
Brantley — batting leadoff in place of the injured Grady Sizemore — singled and scored the game’s first run in the third inning and had a run-scoring hit in the sixth. The son of former Mariners outfielder Mickey Brantley is batting .400 since making his MLB debut Tuesday.
“My goal is to set the table to the best of my ability for my teammates,” he said. “And I love hitting leadoff because the crowd is so into it in the first inning when you get up to the plate.”
Jose Veras, Tony Sipp and Kerry Wood locked up the victory with perfect innings in relief of Sowers. It was Wood’s 18th save.
Ex-Cleveland pitcher Carl Pavano (11-11, 5.09 ERA) took the loss, but could point fingers at his entire infield, save second baseman Alexi Casilla. Third baseman Brendan Harris made two errors, while first baseman Justin Morneau and shortstop Orlando Cabrera had one apiece.
Pavano, who was traded by the Indians to Minnesota on Aug. 7 in exchange for pitcher Yohan Pino, went six innings. He allowed four runs, three of them earned, and struck out six.
“Carl makes you earn it,” Wedge said. “That was the same way he pitched when he was here.”
Left fielder Jamey Carroll had three hits for the Tribe, which took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third when Cabrera flung a potential inning-ending double play ball into the Twins dugout.
Brantley scored on the miscue, while Asdrubal Cabrera came home one batter later when Peralta doubled. Travis Hafner followed with an RBI single to give Sowers a nice cushion.
Minnesota got on the scoreboard in the fifth when Harris drove in Jason Kubel, and a Morneau sacrifice fly in the sixth pulled the Twins within 3-2.
The Tribe, though, answered in the bottom of the inning when Brantley singled home Luis Valbuena, who got on base via Harris’ second error.
Cleveland closed out the scoring in the seventh, making it 5-2 when Morneau whiffed on a low throw from Harris and put Cabrera on first. Cabrera scored on Peralta’s sharp single to left field off reliever Ron Mahay.
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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