Judging by the mood in their clubhouse, it’d be hard to think that Cleveland Indians’ six-game winning streak had just ended.
Mike Pelfrey pitched six innings of one-run ball and Trevor Plouffe hit a two-run homer, leading the Minnesota Twins to a 4-2 victory over the Indians on Sunday.
Cleveland won the first two games in the series, but never led in the finale. Despite falling back to .500 on the season, the Indians remained optimistic.
“We’re not going to win them all, but we gave ourselves a chance again today,” first baseman Mark Reynolds said. “We still took two out of three in this series, and if we keep doing that, we’re going to be in a pretty good place at the end of the year.
“We’ve got some momentum, so hopefully we can carry it over to the next one [a four-game series starting tonight against Oakland].”
Pelfrey (3-3) became the first pitcher to shut down Cleveland’s bats, after a week in which they scored 53 runs during the streak. The right-hander tossed a season-high six innings, allowing one run, and matched his strikeout total for the season with seven.
All four of the Indians’ hits off Pelfrey came in the third and fourth innings, including a sacrifice fly by Reynolds that cut their deficit to 2-1 in the fourth.
“My hat’s off to Pelfrey, that’s probably the best game he’s pitched all year,” Cleveland designated hitter Nick Swisher said, taking a break from spinning Reynolds’ young son around on his chair. “But we’ve still got a great team in here. We’re going out there growling every day. We’ll be right back at it tomorrow.”
Carlos Santana added a two-out, solo home run in the ninth off Minnesota closer Glen Perkins, who recovered to earn his seventh straight save. The Indians did send the potential tying run to the plate in pinch-hitter Mike Aviles, but he struck out to strand Ryan Raburn and end the game.
Santana went 2 for 3 and is batting .382 over his last 19 games. Raburn was 2 for 4, making him 17 for 39 (.436) in his last nine contests.
Indians right-hander Corey Kluber (2-1) took the loss, which was his fifth in five career decisions at home. He gave up three runs in 52/3 innings with four walks and five strikeouts.
“There were a lot of pitches that I just missed with,” said Kluber. “It could have been a lot worse for me, I guess, with four walks. Even though I put some runners on, I didn’t think I was making bad pitches. I liked a lot of what I was throwing out there.”
Cleveland also was feeling good about the injury news it received earlier in the day.
Setup man Vinnie Pestano (sore right elbow) threw without pain in the bullpen, and manager Terry Francona said, “Everything points toward him being ready tomorrow.”
Outfielder Michael Bourn (right index finger laceration) will begin a rehabilitation assignment Monday at Triple-A Columbus. The two-time All-Star has been sidelined since April 14.