CLEVELAND – The Cleveland Indians aren’t so much looking for wins at this point in the season as they are hoping for a few minor victories within their losses.
Such was the case Saturday night when manager Manny Acta found a few positives to discuss after Cleveland’s 7-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
“Fausto (Carmona) really battled for us out there,” Acta said. “He gave us a chance to win the ballgame and he deserved better than that.”
Carmona and former Indians pitcher Carl Pavano battled back and forth in a pitchers’ duel for most of the game, but the Twins eventually got to Carmona and Pavano’s bullpen did a better job backing him up down the stretch.
Pavano improved to 14-7 and saw his ERA rise slightly to 3.28. Carmona dropped to 11-9 with a 3.90.
“Carl’s a veteran and he doesn’t panic out there,” Acta said. “He uses both sides of the plate and he knows how to pitch. He really preyed on our aggressiveness today.”
Acta said the young players that fill his roster didn’t show a lot of patience against the veteran right-hander. It was one of the game’s few negatives he harped on during his postgame news conference.
“It took just three pitches for us to hit two groundballs to the corners where you don’t want to hit it,” Acta said. “We just couldn’t execute offensively and it cost us the game.
“But these guys are young and we know that. We’re going to have to just continue to preach and teach them what we want them to do.”
The Twins struck first when Jason Kubel sent a solo home run into the stands leading off the second inning. They made it 2-0 when Joe Mauer drove in Alexi Casilla in the third.
The Indians erased the deficit in the fourth inning. Shin-Soo Choo singled and scored on Jordan Brown’s double – his first career RBI – and Brown scored on a Matt LaPorta single.
The Twins regained the lead in the seventh when Michael Cuddyer led off with a double and scored on J.J. Hardy’s one-out single. They added three insurance runs in the eighth – one on Trevor Plouffe’s first major league homer – and another in the ninth to put the game away.
Brown, who made his major league debut a week ago, had an impressive game for the Indians. The rookie left fielder went 3-for-4 in the No. 5 spot – improving his batting average from .125 to .250.
It was just another small positive that Acta believes will benefit the team going forward.
“It was good to see him get a few hits today,” Acta said. “You don’t want him to get in a funk and start doubting himself. He had several good swings of the bat today, especially that last one when he fought off (reliever Jesse) Crain for a single.”
It was Brown’s first multihit game and he became the first Indians rookie since Jody Gerut (3-for-5) on April 27, 2003, to have a three-hit game within his first five games.
“I just have to remember to take it at-bat by at-bat and pitch by pitch,” Brown said. “You have to go out there and realize that you belong here.”
The game was a rewarding payoff to a long climb out of disappointing start to the season for Brown. He was excelling during spring training and looked as if he’d secure a spot on the opening day roster when he blew out his knee taking fly balls in the outfield.
“It was a freak accident,” he said. “Everything was going great at that point. I was on the perfect path and I was healthy. After I was injured I felt really deflated.”
Brown battled back, rehabbed in the Arizona League and began ascending through the Indians farm system.
A reporter asked Brown if there was a moment during Saturday’s game that he allowed himself to soak it all in and realize what he had accomplished.
“There was a brief moment when I was standing out there on second base after hitting that double,” he said. “I looked up at the family section and my whole family was sitting there. My wife had bought these little Indians jerseys with my name on the back for the kids and they were all sitting there cheering for me.
“That was a pretty cool moment.”
Contact Shaun Bennett at 329-7137 or email@example.com.
• WHO: Cleveland vs. Minnesota
• TIME: 1:05 p.m.
• WHERE: Progressive Field
• PITCHERS: Huff (2-10, 5.97 ERA) vs. Duensing (4-1, 2.10)
• TV/RADIO: Channel 3, SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM
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