Twins gain ground in wild card race with big win over Cleveland


The Minnesota Twins took advantage of a big opportunity to gain ground on Houston in the race for the second American League wild card spot as they beat Cleveland 4-2 Wednesday night at Target Field.

The Astros lost to Los Angeles Wednesday, so the victory moved Minnesota within one game of Houston.

After a scoreless first three innings, the Twins broke through with a big fourth inning when they batted around and put four runs up against Indians starter Cory Kluber.

Brian Dozier crushed an opposite field solo home run to put the Twins on the board, but the inning was far from done. It was Dozier's 28th home run of the season, but the first he's ever hit the opposite way.

Joe Mauer then added an opposite field double. It was the 42nd consecutive game that Mauer's reached base, tying a team record.

After a walk for Miguel Sano, Trevor Plouffe laced a double down the third base line, putting the Twins up 2-0. With the bases loaded and two outs, Eduardo Escobar followed with a two-run single pushing the lead to four.

Plouffe was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, and he also scored and drove in a run. Sano also finished 2-for-3 with a run scored.

Kluber (8-15) was chased after 3 2/3 innings – his shortest start of the season. He gave up four runs on five hits, while walking two and striking out six.

Phil Hughes (11-9) gave the Twins five shutout innings in his return to the rotation. Hughes got the start because Tommy Milone is dealing with some shoulder issues. Hughes responded by holding the Indians to four hits, while striking out four to pick up the victory.

Carlos Santana hit a two-run homer off Twins reliever Glen Perkins in the ninth to cut the lead in half, but Minnesota held on.

The Twins have a chance to draw closer to the Astros if they can win Thursday's series finale. Kyle Gibson (10-10) starts for Minnesota, while Cody Anderson will get the start for Cleveland.

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