Hughes strong, Vargas homers to help Twins avoid getting swept
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Kennys Vargas homered and sparked rallies with two other hits, leading the Minnesota Twins past Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians 4-1 Thursday.
Phil Hughes (14-8) struck out eight over seven innings to forge a four-way tie for the American League lead in victories, with Rick Porcello, Max Scherzer and Scott Kazmir.
Trevor Plouffe put the Twins back in front with a two-run double in the sixth.
Kluber (13-7) had his winning streak stopped at six, despite eight strikeouts over seven innings.
Rookie Zach Walters homered for the third straight game for the Indians, who missed out on their first sweep of a road series this season and fell six games behind Kansas City in the AL Central.
The Indians also fell into sixth place in the AL wild-card race, remaining 4 1-2 games out of the second spot.
Hughes had a lot to do with that. He improved to 4-0 with a 1.32 ERA in four August starts, avoiding a walk for the 14th time in his 26 turns for the Twins. He gave up five hits, with only the home run by Walters doing any damage.
Walters has four home runs and six RBIs in nine games since joining the Indians in the trade with Washington that sent shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to the Nationals.
Vargas went deep for the fourth time in 19 games since he was promoted from the minors.
The long ball ended a scoreless streak of 20-plus innings and 64 outs for the Twins since they tallied five runs with their first five at-bats to start the series Tuesday night.
Glen Perkins pitched a perfect ninth for his 32nd save in 36 attempts for the Twins.
The 28-year-old Kluber has been a rock for the rotation in this breakout season for the Indians. Over his previous six starts, Kluber gave up only four earned runs over 47 2/3 innings on 27 hits, six walks. He did not allow a homer.
Kluber walked four and gave up six hits and three runs.
Twins: Right-hander Alex Meyer, the top pitching prospect in the organization, has been handled carefully with Triple-A Rochester because of shoulder trouble last season. Meyer has logged more than 123 innings already, but when asked if he could get a September call-up general manager Terry Ryan did not rule that out.
Twins: Host Detroit this weekend for four games in three days, including a doubleheader. RHP Tommy Milone (6-4, 3.99 ERA) starts following the shortest outing (only four outs, seven run) of his career. LHP Robbie Ray (1-3, 5.33 ERA) pitches for the Tigers.© The Associated Press