Scott Kazmir can be excused for not recalling any details about his last major league victory.
“I can’t remember that long ago,” he said.
Kazmir earned his first win in three seasons Saturday as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Minnesota Twins, 7-3, for their sixth straight victory.
A two-time AL All-Star who pitched in an independent league last season, Kazmir (1-1) allowed two runs in six innings. It was his first win since beating Tampa Bay on Sept. 19, 2010, while with the Angels.
The 29-year-old Kazmir overcame a series of arm injuries and a stint with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League in 2012.
“I don’t need to be reminded of it anymore,” Kazmir said. “I’m glad this is out of the way so I don’t have to worry about it anymore.”
Nick Swisher homered in his first at-bat since missing three games with a sore shoulder. Jason Kipnis also homered in the first inning, added an RBI single in the second and had three hits.
Cleveland has won six straight for the first time since winning seven in a row April 26-May 3, 2011.
Kevin Correia (3-2) failed to go seven innings for the first time in six starts this season. Rookie outfielder Aaron Hicks, the Twins’ top prospect, hit his first major league home run to lead off the fifth, clearing the 19-foot wall in left field.
Kazmir, who allowed eight earned runs in 81/3 innings in his first two starts, struck out seven.
“This dude was pitching independent ball last year,” Swisher said. “For him to be where he is now, he’s got a lot left in the tank. I’m glad he’s on our side.”
Kazmir won 53 games for the Rays from 2005-09 before his career was derailed. He was 9-15 for the Angels in 2010 and appeared in only one game in 2011 before being released.
Kazmir was 3-6 with a 5.34 ERA in 14 games for Sugar Land last season and signed a minor league contract with the Indians in January. He won a spot in the rotation in spring training, but ended up on the 15-day disabled list before the season started with a pulled muscle in his rib cage.
“He’s an easy guy to pull for,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He loves to pitch. He wants so bad to make this work. We’re pulling for everybody. That’s the way we are, but it’s hard not to have a soft spot when you see what he’s been through.”
Kipnis, who has six RBIs in his last two games, and Swisher both homered to right in the first. Swisher, who entered the game in a 4-for-28 slump, missed the two-game series against Philadelphia and didn’t play Friday.
“You don’t want to show up in the lineup and not pull your weight,” Swisher said. “These guys have been on fire. As soon as you get back in the lineup you have to do your part as well.”
Correia, who had won three consecutive starts, allowed four runs in five innings.
Kipnis tripled in the seventh and scored on Asdrubal Cabrera’s double. Mark Reynolds scored Cabrera with a two-out single.