Lewis, Indians keep Twins from gaining ground in division

CLEVELAND -- Scott Lewis looked right at home even though he admitted being nervous.

Cleveland's young left-hander pitched six shutout innings in his second career start -- and first at home -- as the Indians beat the Minnesota Twins 3-1 on Monday night.

"He was as good as advertised," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said after his team failed to gain ground in the AL Central race. "Their young man kind of dominated."

Lewis (2-0) has yet to allow a run in 14 innings since being called up from the minors Sept. 7. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the longest scoreless streak by an Indians pitcher to start a career since 1969.

"I was little more nervous this time," said Lewis, who pitched eight shutout innings in his big-league debut in Baltimore on Wednesday. "I was pitching in front of home fans, family and friends. I left 15 to 18 tickets and I saw some other people hollering to me that I knew from high school."

Lewis, who grew up in Washington Court House, Ohio, and attended Ohio State, allowed only three hits. He walked two and struck out five to keep the second-place Twins 1½ games behind the Chicago White Sox.

Minnesota plays eight of its final 12 games in the division, where they are 39-25, including 10-6 against Cleveland.

"We are very frustrated right now," Gardenhire said. "We know where we are and what we have to do."

Kelly Shoppach hit his 21st homer in the fourth inning off Kevin Slowey (12-10) to put Cleveland ahead 1-0. Grady Sizemore singled with one out in the fifth and scored on a two-out homer by Shin-Soo Choo to make it 3-0.

It was Shoppach's fourth homer in five games. Choo went 2-for-4 and is hitting .435 (30-for-69) with five homers and 16 RBIs in his last 18 games.

Jensen Lewis, the fourth pitcher used by Indians manager Eric Wedge, allowed Joe Mauer's ninth homer with one out in the ninth but got his ninth save in 10 chances.

Cleveland bounced back after losing three straight to last-place Kansas City in a four-game series in which Indians pitchers allowed 59 hits and 34 runs.

Before facing the Twins, Wedge said he would monitor Scott Lewis carefully. The 24-year-old has battled injuries throughout his career. When he gave up three hits in eight shutout innings in his big-league debut Wednesday night in Baltimore, it was only the second time he had worked that long in a game.

"I'm happy for him and what he's done," Wedge said. "He's had to battle through quite a bit."

Scott Lewis had Tommy John surgery while in college in 2003, was drafted in the third round by Cleveland the next year but pitched only 20 2/3 innings over his first two professional seasons.

In 2006, he won the Most Spectacular Pitcher Award that goes to the minor-leaguer with the best earned-run average. He compiled a 1.48 ERA at Class A Kinston, working 115 2/3 innings.

In spring training this year, Lewis was shut down after straining a back muscle and didn't pitch until June. He then went 8-4 with a 2.53 ERA combined for Double-A Akron and Triple-A Buffalo.

Slowey gave up seven hits and three runs over six innings. The right-hander walked one and struck out six. He dropped to 5-2 in eight starts since Aug. 8.

Game notes
The Indians surpassed 2 million in paid attendance for the 11th time in the last 14 years. ... Shoppach is hitting .381 (16-for-42) with four homers and 11 RBIs against Minnesota. ... Michael Cuddyer returned to the Twins' lineup as the DH and went 0-for-3. He pinch-hit Saturday and Sunday after being out with a broken bone in his left foot. ... Twins right-hander Jesse Crain returned home to be with his wife, who is expecting a baby. ... Twins right-hander Scott Baker will start on three days' rest Wednesday. ... Twins first baseman Justin Morneau is hitless in his last 11 at-bats. ... Sizemore has hit .524 (11-for-21) since snapping an 0-for-25 streak.