Carmona shuts out Twins
Indians ace cools surging Minnesota
CLEVELAND — Fausto Carmona pitched a three-hitter for his first shutout in more than two years, slowing Minnesota’s surge this month and leading the Cleveland Indians to a 2-0 win over the AL Central-leading Twins last night.
Carmona (12-14) had lost his last six decisions, falling 1-0 in a complete-game start against Seattle his last time out. The righthander dominated the Twins, who just completed an 8-1 homestand and lost for only the second time in nine games in September.
Carmona retired the final 16 batters, striking out four of the final six. It was Carmona’s third career shutout and first since blanking Toronto May 12, 2008.
Minnesota entered the weekend series with a six-game lead over Chicago.
Matt LaPorta homered in the second inning off Carl Pavano (16-11), who allowed just two runs and six hits but lost for the fourth time in five starts.
The Twins came in as the league’s hottest team — and baseball’s best since the All-Star break. Minnesota had increased its division lead by three games already this week, but Carmona and the cellar-dwelling Indians cooled them down on a crisp, late-summer night.
Carmona didn’t overpower Minnesota’s lineup, but he had the Twins guessing and over-swinging at his pitches. He walked one, struck out seven and got inning-ending double plays to end the third and fourth. The righthander continued his comeback season after going 5-12 and being sent down to the lowest level of the minor leagues last year.
The Twins never put two runners on at the same time in any inning, and only got one to third when Denard Span tripled after Carmona induced a double play in the third. Orlando Hudson then lined out to third to end Minnesota’s best scoring threat.
The Twins were without designated hitter Jim Thome, who sat out for the second straight game with a mild abdominal strain. The former Indians slugger has been on a home run tear and is tied with Frank Robinson for eighth place on the career homers list with 586.
LaPorta staked Carmona to a 1-0 lead in the second with his 10th homer. LaPorta, who hit a game-ending shot against the Twins Aug. 6, drove a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left-center for just his second hit in 19 at-bats.
The Indians added one run in the fifth to make it 2-0, but missed a chance at a bigger inning after opening with a single by Jason Donald and Lou Marson’s double. Pavano retired Michael Brantley on a line drive, and after Asdrubal Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly, the righthander got Shin Soo-Choo to bounce out to first.