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Twins outlast Indians in 10 innings, 1-0

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CLEVELAND (AP) - John Axford wanted desperately to erase his mistake. Instead, he made another one.

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The Indians' closer gave up a home run to Eduardo Escobar leading off the 10th inning Monday night, giving the Minnesota Twins a 1-0 win over Cleveland.

For Axford, it was his second straight brutal outing, coming a day after he allowed a three-run homer to Chicago's Dayan Vicideo in the ninth inning as the White Sox rallied for a 4-3 win. In that game, Indians catcher George Kottaras became the first player in franchise history to homer in his first two at_bats and Corey Kluber struck out 13.

Axford rendered those noteworthy milestones almost meaningless.

''It's unbelievable,'' said Axford, who was disappointed to let down his teammates again. ''It's my performances the last two days has taken precedence over a great hitting performance by George and two outstanding pitching performances. Hopefully we'll piece it together as a club soon and start picking up some wins.''

Escobar, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, connected on a 1-0 pitch from Axford (0-3), driving it over the wall in right for his first homer since June 20 and fourth of his career in 344 at_bats.

Axford had hoped for a chance to fix his blunder from Sunday, but the right-hander's low fastball found too much of the plate and Escobar made him pay.

''Bad pitch,'' Axford said. ''It's great to get back out there. It's something I want, to go out there next day, next game and get the job done and erase the slate. Unfortunately, it didn't work out.''

Axford wasted a solid outing by Zach McAllister, who battled Minnesota's Kyle Gibson for seven innings and got a no-decision. McAllister blanked the Twins for 6 2-3 innings and matched a career-high with eight strikeouts.

McAllister said Axford, who signed as a free agent with the Indians in December, shouldn't feel responsible for the losses.

''He's a huge part of every win that we've had,'' McAllister said. ''We trust him every time we hand him the ball and his stuff is too good not to be goods out there. It's just part of the game right now, and that happens and we're ready for him to take the ball whenever that time is.''

Caleb Thielbar (2-0) pitched a perfect ninth and Glen Perkins struck out two in the 10th for his eighth save.

The Indians, who only got two runners to second base, had been the only team in the majors not to play in an extra-inning game.

Cleveland has dropped eight of 10, and scoring is a huge issue. The Indians have scored three runs or less in 19 of their 32 games.

''We're fairly inconsistent right now,'' manager Terry Francona said. ''Even in hitters' counts, we're not getting real good swings. I think when it's team wide, everyone is trying to do much. It's a good quality but we've got to fight through it together and keep the line moving and we're not doing that.''

McAllister worked out of a jam in the sixth, stranding a runner at third to keep it tied 0-0.

Minnesota's Sam Fuld doubled down the left-field line with one out and then easily stole third when he got a great jump off second against an unsuspecting McAllister. The right-hander, though, buckled down and struck out both Trevor Plouffe and Chris Colabello looking to end the threat.

McAllister punctuated the whiffs by pumping his fist as he walked to the dugout.

Gibson and second baseman Brian Dozier combined on a sparkling defensive play in the fourth.

Michael Brantley hit a grounder toward right that Dozier was able to stop with a dive before spinning in one motion and throwing toward first. With first baseman Chris Colabello out of position, Gibson alertly covered and snagged Dozier's throw on one hop before sliding into the bag ahead of Brantley.

Gibson walked Carlos Santana, who stole second. But Gibson kept him there by retiring Lonnie Chisenhall and Asdrubal Cabrera on flies to left.

NOTES: Indians OF Michael Bourn missed his second straight game with a tight right hamstring, the same one he had surgically repaired in October. Bourn could be headed to the disabled list for the second time this season if it doesn't respond. Francona said Bourn will test his leg on the field Tuesday afternoon. ... Cleveland placed DH Jason Giambi on the DL with a strained calf muscle. The 43-year-old is 0-for-10 this season. ... Indians RHP Josh Tomlin will make his first start Tuesday since July 27, 2012, three weeks before undergoing Tommy John surgery.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
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