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Updated: September 20th, 2010 9:52pm
Cuddyer, Valencia power Twins to 9-3 win over Indians; Team senses clinch

Cuddyer, Valencia power Twins to 9-3 win over Indians; Team senses clinch

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Brian Duensing worked out of a sixth-inning jam, and the Minnesota Twins offense provided immediate insurance, en route to a 9-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night.

The victory dropped the Twins' magic number to clinch the American League Central title to two, with the White Sox losing to Oakland on Monday night.

"This time of year, I don't think anything's wrong with looking at the scoreboard," said Michael Cuddyer, whose two-run blast in the sixth inning busted the game open on Monday night..

"Obviously you don't get caught up in (Chicago's) game, but I don't think anything's wrong with seeing if they're winning or losing.

"It's a weird situation. First and foremost, obviously, we have to take care of (Tuesday). We have to win (Tuesday), then see how that situation plays out."

The Twins jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning Monday, courtesy of a two-out RBI double by Delmon Young -- his team-leading 103rd RBI of the season.

Cleveland tied it in the second inning on a two-out RBI triple by Andy Marte, but the Twins came back in the fourth inning with a solo home run by Danny Valencia -- his fifth of the season and third in his last four games -- and an RBI single by Jason Repko to take a 3-1 lead.

Young added an RBI infield single in the fifth to make it 4-1.

In the top of the sixth, Duensing ran into some trouble, loading the bases with one out. Marte and Drew Sutton added back-to-back RBI singles to cut the lead to 4-3, but Duensing fanned Lou Marson and induced a lineout to third off the bat of Michael Brantley to end the inning.

In the bottom half of the sixth, the Twins received an RBI triple by Denard Span, an RBI single by Orlando Hudson and a two-run homer by Cuddyer to blow the game open, 8-3.

Span's RBI single in the seventh made it 9-3.

Duensing finished six innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits and four walks while striking out six.

His counterpart, Jeanmar Gomez, allowed eight earned runs on 10 hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings while striking out five.

Hudson left the game in the seventh inning with a sore shoulder, but later told Gardenhire he wants to play Tuesday.

RHP Scott Baker (12-9, 4.60) is scheduled to make his first start since September 2 on Tuesday. He will face RHP Fausto Carmona (12-14, 3.81).

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd