CLEVELAND (AP) – Francisco Lindor hit two of Cleveland’s four home runs and the Indians defeated the Minnesota Twins 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Lindor hit a solo home run in the third and broke a 1-all tie with a two-run homer in the fifth. Roberto Perez and Jake Bauers added back-to-back homers in the seventh.
The Indians have struggled offensively, but at least for one night out-hit the Twins 6-5. Minnesota leads the AL in runs, homers and batting average.
Minnesota came into the game with best record in baseball and holds a 10 1/2-game lead over Cleveland in AL Central.
Shane Bieber (5-2) gave up solo homers to Marwin Gonzalez in the second and Eddie Rosario in the sixth. He allowed two runs and struck out seven in seven-plus innings.
Bieber was pulled after Byron Buxton reached on Lindor’s fielding error to start the eighth. Oliver Perez struck out Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco and Nelson Cruz. Brad Hand hit Mitch Garver with one out in the ninth, but got Gonzalez to bounce into a game-ending double play. Hand picked up his 17th save in 17 opportunities.
Rookie left-hander Devin Smeltzer (0-1) gave up all four homers in his second major league start. Smeltzer allowed five runs in 6 1/3 innings.
Lindor, who missed the first three weeks because of calf and ankle injuries, doubled in the seventh and walked in the first.
Rosario moved into a tie for the AL lead with his 18th home run. Jorge Polanco, who ranks second in the league in batting, was 1 for 3 for a .336 average. Cruz played for the first time since May 12 when he strained his left wrist, and was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.
Smeltzer, a 23-year-old left-hander, pitched six scoreless innings against Tampa Bay in his major league debut last week. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer when he was nine years old. The cancer went into full remission when in 2012. Smeltzer was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016 and acquired by the Twins last season for second baseman Brian Dozier.
Twins: RHP Michael Pineda (right knee tendinitis) is on track to be activated off the 10-day injured list after he becomes eligible on Thursday.
Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger (strained muscle in upper back) will begin a rehab assignment Thursday at Triple-A Columbus. … RHP Jefry Rodriguez (strained shoulder) is on the 10-day IL and will be shut down for two to three weeks.
Twins: LHP Martin Perez (7-2, 3.71 ERA) has allowed 24 earned runs in 23 2/3 career innings against Cleveland, posting a 1-2 record and 9.13 ERA in six appearances.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (4-6, 4.98 ERA) has lost three consecutive starts. His last victory was on May 14, when he threw seven scoreless innings against the White Sox.
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