Indians edge Twins 7-6
MINNEAPOLIS—Minnesota Twins pitcher Liam Hendricks isn't worried about getting a major league win. His manager, however, says the right-hander won't get anywhere unless he makes dramatic improvement.
Hendricks labored through five innings Friday night, throwing 108 pitches and blowing a 4-0 lead for the second consecutive time to remain winless in 16 appearances this season as the Twins fell to Cleveland 7-6.
Hendricks, who earned a spot in the Twins' starting rotation out of spring training, is 0-7 with an 6.20 ERA in two major league stints. He has won 21 games in the minor leagues the past two seasons.
"I try not to think about it too much," Hendricks said of that elusive first win. "It's going to come."
Manager Ron Gardenhire felt the game was there for Hendricks to win.
"You get a lead, you have to go attack the strike zone," Gardenhire said. "If he wants to get a win in this league, you have to go attack hitters. If they beat you, make them beat you swinging. Not putting guys on, not going to 3-2 counts with every hitter. He hasn't been able to do it consistently."
Hendricks said there were times when plate umpire Dan Iassogna was a little tight with the strike zone, and by not getting calls, his pitch count mounted.
"There were a couple pitches that I thought were close," Hendricks said. "There was a couple I thought I could have gotten, and there was a couple that he gave me."
Gardenhire says his pitcher should have adjusted.
"It goes both ways, their guys had to go through the same thing," Gardenhire said. "If he's got a tight strike zone, then throw it in there. Throw it over. I know he's better than what we're seeing."
Josh Willingham went over the 100 mark in RBIs with two doubles that brought home three runs. He has 101. His two-run double in the third staked the Twins to their early lead, which melted away in the seventh inning when the Indians took advantage of three walks and two botched plays to score three runs and take a 7-4 lead.
Sloppy play hurt the Twins in the seventh when Jason Kipnis was caught stealing by Tyler Robertson (1-2), but reached second when shortstop Pedro Florimon missed a throw from first baseman Justin Morneau.
Two batters later, Michael Brantley gave the Indians the lead when he singled off Alex Burnett to drive in Kipnis. Casey Kotchman then snapped a 0-for-15 skid when he singled home Carlos Santana and Burnett walked in a run to make it 7-4.
"You're not going to make them all, but there were some plays tonight that we should have made," Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe said.
Willingham added another double in the eighth off Vinnie Pestano to drive in Joe Mauer. Pestano and Joe Smith combined for 1 2-3 innings of relief. Chris Perez gave up a leadoff double and a run in the ninth, but held on for his 35th save in 39 chances.
Cleveland started its comeback in the fourth inning on a two-run homer by Russ Canzler, his first career home run. Dave Huff (1-0) got the win in relief of starter Jeanmar Gomez, retiring all 10 batters he faced in the middle innings. Both Canzler and Huff played the entire season for Class AAA Columbus and were called up when rosters expanded on Sept. 1.
Notes: Indians manager Manny Acta said 3B Lonnie Chisenhall could rejoin the team soon if Double-A Akron is eliminated from the Eastern League playoffs this weekend. Chisenhall broke his right arm in June. ... Vinny Rottino was in the lineup in LF for the first time since being called up from Triple-A Columbus earlier this week. He's also the team's third catcher. ... Twins RF Denard Span (collarbone) said he planned to take some swings in the batting cage Friday and possibly hit outside on Saturday. He's scheduled to come off the DL next week. "The next couple days will tell me," Span said. ... The teams play the second game of their four-game series Saturday when Minnesota's Cole De Vries faces Cleveland's Zach McAllister.