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Twins Win Third Straight, Beat Indians 4-3

Justin Morneau's two-run double in the third inning and Jason Kubel's two-run two-bagger in the seventh provided all of the runs for Minnesota.

Morneau blasted a long fly ball over Grady Sizemore's head to score Kubel and Denard Span, giving the Twins a 2-0 early lead in the third.

In the fourth, Minnesota starter Carl Pavano ran into his only trouble of the game. With one out, Carlos Santana walked and Travis Hafner singled to left, bringing up Orlando Cabrera - you remember O-Cab, of course. Cabrera dropped the head of the bat on a pretty good Pavano changeup and lined it into the left-field corner, scoring Santana. Indians left fielder Michael Brantley followed by hitting a deep fly to right that bounced off of the top edge of the limestone overhang in right - one more inch and it would have caromed over the stands and onto the plaza. Instead, it popped up into the air and back into the field of play.

Originally, the umpires ruled Brantley's blast a home run, but took a moment to look at the replay, and discovered that the ball hadn't left the park at all. Brantley was sent back to second, Pavano got himself back into trouble with another walk, but induced a fly ball and struck out Sizemore to end the threat.

Pavano finished seven innings, but apart from that fourth, no Indians runner reached second base. I do love how Pavano always seems to finish seven or eight innings (that is, when he's not getting pounded and leaves the game in the fourth, I guess.)

Indians starter Carlos Carrasco left the game after three innings due to tightness in his right elbow. Our friends over at Let's Go Tribe are not too optimistic: "Since all major elbow surgeries start with that rather innocuous diagnosis, you immediately think of the worst." Fellow starter Jeanmar Gomez replaced Carrasco, an easy fix for Cleveland due to the rainout and their off day tomorrow.

In the seventh, Alexi Casilla's leadoff single looked to be erased by Span's grounder to second, but Cabrera booted the chance and gave the Twins the extra out. Jason Repko sacrificed the runners over, and Kubel followed by blasting a breaking pitch off the right-center wall, giving the Twins the lead.

The Minnesota bullpen refused to make things easy - Glen Perkins gave up a hit and a walk and had to give way to Jim Hoey and Jose Mijares in the eighth, with all three pitchers recording one out, and Matt Capps gave up a Sizemore double and an fly ball to the left-field warning track from Asdrubal Cabrera for the game's final out. A win's a win, though.

Kubel and Morneau have to be tied for the first star of the game, given that both had a pair of hits and a two-run double. Pavano's probably the third star, but a word for Casilla, who got two hits and has now - gasp! - raised his average to .200. Duds would be Perkins for nearly blowing the game, and Danny Valencia for going 0-4 and striking out twice. (UPDATE: Commenters make good points about Perkins and Casilla - they're not willing to blame Perk for a fly ball that Kubel Repko lost, and they're all over Casilla for getting himself thrown out at home by a mile. So I retract these meaningless awards. Perkins is great and we should beat Casilla with sticks.)

Next: The Twins have an off day Monday before beginning a three-game home set with the Rays on Tuesday. Francisco Liriano's scheduled to pitch against Wade Davis at 7:10 pm.

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