But the Cleveland Indians would feel much better

Associated Press Published:

But the Cleveland Indians would feel much better if, after starting 11-1, they hadn't lost six straight games to their division rivals.

The Indians lost 4-2 to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday to end an 0-6 road trip that saw them fall out of first place in the AL Central.

"We don't like coming home 0-6, but we've got a lot of games left and just need to keep our heads up and our energy high," said Chuck Finley (1-2), who allowed 10 hits in six innings.

On the flip side are the Twins, who went 8-1 on their homestand after dropping four straight to the Indians at Jacobs Field last weekend.

Rick Reed (2-1) had his best outing of the season, limiting the Indians to a two-run homer by Jim Thome over 6 1/3 innings. Eddie Guardado pitched the ninth for his eighth save in as many chances.

"We pitched better in this series," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It was a sweep _ that's fine _ but it was just three games in our ballpark."

The six-game skid prompted a brief team meeting in the Indians' clubhouse after the game, during which manager Charlie Manuel told his team to relax.

"In the last few days we definitely started trying too hard," Manuel said. "Once we stop doing that, we're going to be fine."

Torii Hunter had three hits, Denny Hocking hit a two-run double, and Brian Buchanan had a solo homer as the Twins swept a three-game series from the Indians for the first time since May 28-30, 1993.

Reed had not gone more than five innings in his previous three starts this season. Aside from Thome's homer, Reed allowed only five singles while walking two and striking out three.

"One thing we did in this series is we pounded the strike zone," Reed said. "We didn't do that in Cleveland. We fell behind a lot of hitters and they made us pay."

Hocking, who committed two errors at second base, misplayed Ellis Burks' grounder with one out in the fourth. Thome then snapped an 0-for-15 skid with his fifth homer to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.

Hocking atoned in the bottom of the inning with a two-run double. Buchanan walked, Dustan Mohr singled and Tom Prince sacrificed.

Hocking followed with a liner, and right fielder Matt Lawton made a diving attempt, but the ball scooted out of his glove when he hit the ground.

"That was a big play in the game," Manuel said. "He made a heck of a try and the ball squirted out. It's like things have not been going for us."

Jacque Jones then doubled home Hocking to give the Twins a 3-2 lead.

"We kicked it around out there a little bit but we pitched the ball well and got some key hits," Gardenhire said.

Buchanan hit his second homer in the fifth to make it 4-2.

Notes: SS Omar Vizquel returned to the Indians' starting lineup for the first time since leaving an April 18 game with a bruised knee. ... Twins reliever Jack Cressend returned from the three-game suspension served for intentionally hitting Cleveland's Ricky Gutierrez with a pitch in a game April 11 at Cleveland. ... Minnesota plays its next 16 games against teams with losing records _ Tampa Bay, Kansas City and Detroit.

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