July 31, 2014

Medina
Partly sunny
77°F

Tribe: Costner buzz doesn’t help Cleveland, Twins win 5-3

CLEVELAND — If you’re a fan of actor Kevin Costner, then Progressive Field was the place to be Sunday afternoon.

Not so much for Indians fans.

Minnesota’s Ryan Doumit touches home plate safely against Indians catcher Yan Gomes. (AP PHOTO)

Costner, who’s in town to shoot scenes for the movie “Draft Day,” created some pregame excitement by taking batting practice, but the home team still went out and fell flat, dropping the series finale to Minnesota 5-3.

The loss deprived Cleveland of the three-game sweep and ended a four-game winning streak for the Indians, who have won seven of their last 11 and trail first-place Detroit by four games in the Central Division.

Costner is about to leave town after wrapping up filming, and so are the Indians. They hit the road for 11 straight games with a focus on their successful run — not the disappointing capper to the nine-game homestand.

“That’s still four series wins in a row against some tough opponents,” said second baseman Jason Kipnis, who stayed hot to collect three of his team’s eight hits and drive in a run.

Cleveland won two of three at Texas before returning home to accomplish the same against Washington, Kansas City and Minnesota.

Still, the loss was particularly tough to take, as the Twins needed to make an emergency call-up from Triple-A Rochester — left-hander Pedro Hernandez — to replace scheduled starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey, who was placed on the disabled list with a back injury.

Hernandez, whom the Indians beat up for five runs over 5⅓ innings of a 7-6 win May 3 at Progressive Field, walked six over the first three innings, yet still managed to allow just two runs on the six walks and three hits over five innings.

Hernandez walked the bases loaded to start the second inning, and the Indians scored just a run on Yan Gomes’ sacrifice fly.

Cleveland had two on with one out in the third after an RBI double from Kipnis gave the Indians a 2-1 lead, but Carlos Santana grounded out and Ryan Raburn flew out to center to end the threat.

“We gave ourselves plenty of opportunities. We just never really cashed in,” manager Terry Francona said. “It was a frustrating day. We did have some chances and we didn’t come through.”

The Indians got a brief and ineffective outing from right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who was coming off a sparkling effort — one run on four hits over 7⅓ innings in a 2-1 win over the Royals.

Carrasco (0-3, 7.78 ERA) struggled with his command, but still allowed only a run over the first four innings before consecutive two-out RBI singles from Oswaldo Arcia and Trevor Plouffe put the Twins back in front 3-2 in the fifth.

“He was in a lot of deep counts,” Francona said. “He was missing off the plate a little bit. They squared up a lot of balls. To his credit, he pitched and limited damage, but they made him work real hard.”

Carrasco threw 104 pitches over 4⅔ innings, allowing six hits and walking four.

“I missed a couple spots,” said Carrasco, who was visited on the mound by Francona and head trainer Lonnie Soloff at one point when his leg cramped in the heat, 88 degrees at first pitch. “I made too many pitches in the first two innings.”

After the Twins scored a run off left-hander Nick Hagadone in the seventh, Cleveland countered in the bottom of the inning on a leadoff home run from Drew Stubbs to make it 4-3. But the Twins forged ahead by two again in the ninth on Arcia’s two-out double off right-hander Cody Allen.

Even with the loss, the Indians depart for the lengthy road trip with positive vibes.

“We lost a tough game today,” Francona said. “But if we play like this, we’re going to be OK. I’ll take our chances. I like the way we’re playing.”

Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7136 or cassenheimer@chroniclet.com. Fan him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.