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Updated: April 22nd, 2010 2:57pm
Twins lose 8-1 as Indians tag Baker

Twins lose 8-1 as Indians tag Baker

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Scott Baker was unable to follow the magnificent performances of Kevin Slowey and Francisco Liriano, as the Twins (11-5) lost the final game of a nine-game homestand, 8-1 to the Cleveland Indians on Thursday.

Baker (2-2, 4.81 ERA) went 5 2/3 innings, allowing 10 hits and six earned runs. He struck out three and walked one.

The Indians (7-8) came into Thursday's games with one of the worst offenses in the league, but back-to-back ground rule doubles by Asdrubal Cabrera and Grady Sizemore to start the game put Cleveland up 1-0.

In the fourth inning, a two-run home run by Indians third baseman Andy Marte put the Indians up 3-1. Marte added an RBI single in the sixth, along with RBI doubles by Russell Branyan and Luis Valbuena to make it 6-1.

Justin Morneau provided the lone offensive highlight for the Twins, driving in Orlando Hudson with a double in the fourth inning -- one of only three Twins hits in the game.

The Twins played Thursday's game without catcher Joe Mauer (rest) and shortstop J.J. Hardy, who sat with a sore knee. Drew Butera and Alexi Casilla started instead. Starting third baseman Nick Punto also sat out once again with a strained groin. He's expected to return sometime this weekend.

Despite the loss, Minnesota has won five straight series to open the season, which is a franchise record.

The Twins travel to Kansas City on Friday night for a three-game series with the Royals. Carl Pavano (2-1, 4.96 ERA) is scheduled to face Gil Meche (0-1, 11.57 ERA).

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.
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