Five-run third inning helps end slide
Kubel's two-run homer, Morneau's night back Blackburn
CLEVELAND -- Nothing has come easy for the Twins on their current road trip.The team watched the White Sox go through their hottest offensive stretch of the season as it was swept in a four-game series in Chicago. The Twins then headed to Cleveland, where their pitching finally rebounded only to be shut out, 1-0, by another dominant performance from Indians ace C.C. Sabathia on Tuesday. So thinking that the victory to end a season-high, six-game losing streak would be easy seemed to be a little optimistic. Sure enough, the Twins nearly watched an early five-run lead fall through Wednesday before the bullpen held on to secure an 8-5 victory over the Indians at Progressive Field. "We had a lead another time on this bad streak and lost that one," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So with the way things are going, it's sad, but all the negative thoughts creep in and you're thinking that, 'We've got to finish the game off this time.' Because when you are going through streaks, funny things happen." Like in Sunday's game in Chicago, the Twins had appeared well on their way early to securing a victory. The team had a 6-2 lead heading into the seventh inning, thanks to one big offensive inning and yet another strong outing from its starting pitcher. After Scott Baker had gotten the pitching staff back on track with its first quality start in 12 games on Tuesday night, Nick Blackburn (5-4) followed suit with one of his own. The right-hander followed up a tough start in Chicago by allowing just two runs on seven hits over six innings. "It's just good to see a team that wasn't as hot as the White Sox when we were there," Blackburn said. "Those guys were hitting everything there. You get here, and it's more like a normal series. It's still a tough lineup, but those White Sox were just extremely hot at the time." It also helped Blackburn that his offense gave him quite a comfortable lead to work with early. With the game knotted at 1, the Twins delivered a five-run third inning that, at least for a period of time, allowed them to relax. A bunt single by Carlos Gomez got the offense going in the third off Indians starter Paul Byrd. Justin Morneau delivered a two-run double to center that was followed by Michael Cuddyer's run-scoring double to right. Jason Kubel then belted his eighth home run of the season, a two-run shot to deep center field, to finish out the five-run inning. But it was after Blackburn had exited the game that the team sat back and watched as it appeared that another letdown might be in store.
|"So with the way things are going, it's sad, but all the negative thoughts creep in and you're thinking that, 'We've got to finish the game off this time.' Because when you are going through streaks, funny things happen."|
|-- manager Ron Gardenhire|
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.