MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Anthony Swarzak and Scott Diamond gave the Minnesota Twins a pair of credible performances for a couple of stopgap starters on this sweltering day.
In the end, there were too many bobbled balls and not enough clutch hits, and all that sweat yielded nothing but two big losses.
Asdrubal Cabrera's three-run homer off Swarzak in the third inning of the first game and Lou Marson's tiebreaking solo shot in the seventh inning of the second game highlighted a doubleheader sweep for the Cleveland Indians, 5-2 and 6-3 on Monday.
``It's a long day,' said Joe Mauer, who had six hits, three in each game. ``A little longer when you lose.'
After climbing Sunday as close to the AL Central lead as they'd been since April 26, five games back, the Twins took a tumble on one tough day - falling to seven games behind the first-place Indians.
Travis Hafner had two hits and two RBIs in the second game, and Michael Brantley finished with five hits for the Indians on one of those days when scorecards worked better as personal fans and faces glistened in sweat.
Marson also doubled and scored in the fifth against Diamond, who turned in a decent major league debut but took the defeat. Fausto Carmona (5-10) came off the disabled list and won for only the second time in his last 12 starts, beating the heat to finish six innings with two runs allowed.
Cabrera added an RBI single in the nightcap.
After Marson's first homer of the season made it 3-2, third baseman Danny Valencia overran a dribbler hit by Ezequiel Carrera for an error. Carrera later scored on a single by Hafner, the first and only batter faced by Phil Dumatrait. Diamond left the mound to a standing ovation, tipping his cap in appreciation after smiling upon being congratulated by manager Ron Gardenhire.
``It was unbelievable. What a lot of kids dream of,' Diamond said.
Diamond was acquired by the Twins last December through the major league draft at the winter meetings - Rule 5, as it's referred to - and kept in the organization at the end of spring training when they traded minor league pitcher Billy Bullock to the Atlanta Braves.
With Triple-A Rochester, Diamond is 4-8 with one complete game and a 4.70 ERA in 17 starts. He was summoned to make this start when right-hander Scott Baker, arguably Minnesota's best starting pitcher before the All-Star break, landed on the disabled list due to a strained right elbow.
Swarzak (2-3) pitched six innings in the opener, giving up four runs, three earned. An error by second baseman Alexi Casilla led to one score in Cleveland's four-run fourth, and Cabrera's three-run shot capped the big inning.
``I was rushing through my delivery a little bit today and they made me pay,' Swarzak said. ``That was a huge inning. In a game like this where it was in and off the field as quick as possible, it's tough.'
Carmona picked up where starter David Huff (1-0) left off after the first game. Huff pitched seven shutout innings. Returning from a strained right quadriceps muscle, Carmona allowed seven hits, struck out one and walked none, helping the Indians reassert themselves atop the division and cool off the surging Twins, who were 20 games under .500 at the beginning of June.
Diamond lasted 6 1-3 innings and was charged with four runs, three earned, and seven hits. He had two outs in the fifth when Marson doubled and scored on a first-pitch single by Brantley, right after a visit to the mound by Mauer and pitching coach Rick Anderson. Cabrera's RBI single drove in the No. 9 hitter Carrera, who walked after Marson, to give the Indians a 2-1 edge.
Valencia's homer tied it up again in the sixth and Trevor Plouffe also went deep in the ninth, but the damage was done in between.
``We didn't really play good at all,' Gardenhire said. ``Very sporadic offense. Missed some plays, and there you have it: you lose a couple of ballgames.'
NOTES: Twins 1B Justin Morneau, recovering from neck surgery, has begun to play catch and will resume baseball activities this week. ... Mauer moved into 11th place on the team's career lists for hits (1,049) and RBIs (486), passing Roy Smalley in both categories.
The Associated Press News Service
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