Kipnis, Santana homer to help Indians beat Twins 6-3
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Cleveland Indians boosted their slim playoff chances Thursday night and prevented Minnesota from moving closer in the wild-card chase.
Jason Kipnis hit a leadoff homer, Carlos Santana connected for a three-run shot and the Indians beat the Twins 6-3.
Francisco Lindor had three hits for Cleveland, which is four games behind Houston in the race for the second AL wild card with 11 to play. But the Twins, Angels and Orioles are all between the Indians and Astros in the standings.
''You're trying to win every game no matter the circumstance. I know we've got a chance and have something to play for,'' said Lonnie Chisenhall, who had two RBIs for Cleveland.
Minnesota and Los Angeles are 1 1/2 games behind Houston. Baltimore is 3 1/2 back.
The loss by the Twins allowed Kansas City to clinch the AL Central championship with a 10-4 win over Seattle.
Torii Hunter and Eddie Rosario homered for Minnesota, which finished a 4-6 homestand by taking two of three from Cleveland.
''We won the series, which is good, but we've got to look forward to tomorrow and try to get another win,'' first baseman Joe Mauer said.
In earning his fourth straight win, Cody Anderson (5-3) allowed 10 hits but only one earned run. Since coming off the disabled list from a left oblique strain on Aug. 26, the rookie right-hander has held all six opponents to two or fewer runs.
''They're just playing great defense behind me, getting some runs for me. I've been pitching with the lead a lot,'' he said. ''I'm just trying to keep the team in the game and win games as much as I can.''
Cody Allen pitched a perfect ninth for his 32nd save in 36 chances.
Kyle Gibson (10-11) threw 64 pitches in 2 2-3 innings for Minnesota, his shortest start since July 4, 2014. He allowed seven hits and six earned runs, but struck out five.
''The team's relying on me to go out there and put up a couple zeros and give the team a chance to get a lead. When you don't do that right off the bat after the first batter, it's pretty frustrating,'' he said.
Kipnis hit an opposite-field homer on Gibson's third pitch - his fourth leadoff home run of the season. Chisenhall added a two-run single for a quick 3-0 Cleveland lead.
Minnesota had two on and nobody out in the bottom of the first, but couldn't score. Center fielder Abraham Almonte threw out Aaron Hicks at the plate for the second out.
Santana hit a three-run shot in the third to make it 6-0 after Jose Ramirez doubled and Lindor singled to start the inning.
Santana also homered Wednesday.
''When Carlos gets hot he can put you on his shoulders for four or five days,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Anderson retired 13 of 14 Twins before Kurt Suzuki and Eduardo Escobar had back-to-back singles with two outs in the fifth. Hicks flied out to end the inning.
Hunter homered in the seventh and Rosario hit a two-run drive in the eighth.
Mauer was 0 for 3 but walked in the eighth to establish a franchise record by reaching base safely in 43 straight games, surpassing the mark set by Bob Allison in 1961. It's the third-longest streak in the majors this season behind Matt Holliday of St. Louis (45) and Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion (44).
Indians: LF Michael Brantley missed his second straight game after jamming his right shoulder trying to make a play Tuesday. He did hit in the batting cage, though. ''He's getting closer,'' said Francona, adding it might be ''pushing it'' for Brantley to play Friday.
Twins: Manager Paul Molitor said it might take ''some unusual circumstances'' to get RHP Ricky Nolasco into a game. Nolasco last pitched May 31 and had surgery on his right ankle July 13. He could be activated from the 60-day disabled list as soon as Friday. ... Molitor doesn't think LHP Tommy Milone, who missed a start earlier this week with shoulder fatigue, is ''imminently ready to return.''
Indians: Cleveland opens a three-game series Friday in Kansas City with Carlos Carrasco (13-11, 3.62 ERA) scheduled to pitch against Edinson Volquez (13-8, 3.62). In 14 road starts, Carrasco has allowed an AL-low .191 batting average.
Twins: Mike Pelfrey (6-10, 4.16) starts Friday when Minnesota begins a seven-game road trip in Detroit. Pelfrey, who is 1-2 with a 4.19 ERA in three starts against the Tigers this season, faces Matt Boyd (1-3, 6.21).