Cleveland 9, Minnesota 6

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A.J. Pierzynski was not about to let the
Minnesota Twins' four-game winning streak end without a struggle.

The Twins rallied for two runs in the ninth inning, then
Pierzynski nearly delivered a big hit before striking out on the
14th pitch of his at-bat as the Cleveland Indians held on 9-6
Tuesday night.

Ryan Ludwick hit two home runs for the Indians, who kept the
Twins 2{ games behind AL Central leader Kansas City.

"The first multi-home run game in the big leagues is a thrill,
but hopefully there's many more to come," Ludwick said.

Ludwick, Angel Santos and Casey Blake all homered during a
four-run seventh inning that put the Indians ahead 8-4.

Cleveland led 9-4 going into the bottom of the ninth, but Doug
Mientkiewicz's one-out, bases-loaded single off closer Danys Baez
brought the Twins within three.

After Corey Koskie fouled out, Pierzynski pinch-hit and battled
Baez. With two runners on, Pierzynski fouled off eight pitches,
including a long drive to right field that narrowly missed being an
extra-base hit by about a foot.

Pierzynski finally fanned on a fastball, and his bat went
sailing into the crowd.

"It was a good at-bat against a very good pitcher, and that's
the way it goes," Pierzynski said. "It was a fun at-bat. I'm
disappointed that's the way it ended, but it wasn't meant to be."

Baez needed 46 pitches to retire the Twins in the ninth.

Travis Hafner had three of Cleveland's 15 hits and drove in two
runs. The Indians improved to 6-3 against the Twins this season.

Rafael Betancourt (2-1), the third of five Cleveland pitchers,
pitched the sixth and seventh innings for the victory.

James Baldwin (0-1) gave up three home runs in only 1 1-3

Ludwick's solo homer in the sixth tied it at 4. Ludwick hit a
two-run shot in the seventh and Santos and Blake had solo drives.

The four homers by the Indians tied their season-high.

"I take full responsibility," Baldwin said. "I didn't go out
and make the pitches I wanted to."

Joe Mays was picked to start for the Twins about two hours
before gametime after Rick Reed was scratched because of back

Mays gave up eight hits and three runs in five innings. He had
not pitched since Aug. 2 and had not started since July 5 -- he was
in the rotation for the first half of the season but was sent to
the bullpen on July 6 because of ineffectiveness, winning only one
of his last six starts.

"He kept us close. That's all you can ask," Twins manager Ron
Gardenhire said of Mays. "We were looking for him to keep us in
the ballgame for five or six innings."

Mays actually left with the lead, when Matthew LeCroy's two-run
homer off Jason Boyd in the fifth inning gave Minnesota a 4-3 lead.

Indians starter Billy Traber lasted only three innings, giving
up two runs on five hits.

After Hafner's two-run double in the second inning gave
Cleveland a 2-0 lead, the Twins tied the game on a bizarre play in
the third.

With one out and runners on second and third, Mientkiewicz
struck out on a pitch in the dirt. Catcher Josh Bard trapped the
ball, and threw out Mientkiewicz out at first.

When Bard threw, Cristian Guzman broke for home. First baseman
Ben Broussard threw back to the plate, but the ball short-hopped
Traber covering and bounced away, allowing Guzman to score and
letting Shannon Stewart come home from second.

"They were aggressive on the bases right there," Indians
manager Eric Wedge said. "Obviously, that's something that can't

Game notes
Prior to Tuesday, Twins relievers had only given up three
homers in their previous 49 1-3 innings. ... Good things have
happened to the Twins recently when their batters strike out. On
July 31, they scored the tying run on what had appeared to be a
game-ending strikeout. Michael Restovich hesitated before running
to first when the pitch got away, and a subsequent throwing error
led to the tying run. ... Indians OF Milton Bradley was out of the
lineup for the fourth consecutive game because of back spasms. ...
Cleveland has used 48 players this season, second in the majors
only to Texas (50). Their starting lineup Tuesday had a total of
508 major league at-bats entering this season.