Surging Tribe pulls out brooms, sweeps struggling Twins

MINNEAPOLIS – The surging Cleveland Indians completed another sweep of Minnesota and left the Twins barely clinging to their playoff hopes.

Victor Martinez had two hits and two RBIs to back a quality start from Fausto Carmona, and Cleveland beat Minnesota 6-2 on Wednesday for its second sweep of the Twins in the last 10 games.

Carmona (15-8) allowed two runs and eight hits in 7 1-3 innings to help the AL Central leaders to their 11th win in 12 games. Six of those victories have come against the Twins, who had won five in a row when they walked into Jacobs Field on Aug. 27 looking to cut into Cleveland’s 6 1/2-game lead in the division.

But the Twins were swept out of the Jake, split a series with Kansas City, and were swept again this week by the Tribe. Minnesota now trails the Indians by 12 1/2 games.

Cleveland began the day with a seven-game advantage over second-place Detroit. The Twins were eight games out of the wild-card spot.

Rafael Perez got five outs for his first major league save.

Scott Baker (8-7) gave up three runs and 11 hits with six strikeouts in five innings, a resounding step back from his stellar outing on Friday against the Royals.

Baker carried a perfect game into the ninth in that one, and was two outs from a no-hitter when Mike Sweeney broke it up.

On yesterday, Grady Sizemore needed just two pitches to get the first hit off Baker, lining a single to center field to lead off the game. Baker then hit Asdrubal Cabrera in the back with a pitch and gave up an RBI double to Travis Hafner.

Martinez followed with another double to score two more runs, and it was 3-0 Indians before the smattering of Twins fans even got settled into their seats. It took Baker 27 pitches to get his first out of the game.

The right-hander from Louisiana walked a tightrope all afternoon, wobbling a few times but never being knocked off.

The Indians had a leadoff single in all five innings Baker worked. But he got some timely strikeouts, including one of Martinez with the bases loaded in the fourth, and stranded nine baserunners to limit the damage.