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Twins Beat Indians With Tiebreaking Homer

September 25, 2003

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Michael Cuddyer hit a tiebreaking home run in the eighth inning and the AL Central champion Minnesota Twins won their 11th straight game, beating the Cleveland Indians 3-2 Wednesday night.

A day after clinching the division title, Minnesota won its team-record 13th in a row at home. The Twins’ next game at the Metrodome will be Oct. 4 _ Game 3 in the first round of the playoffs.

Overall, the Twins’ winning string is their longest since a 15-game streak in 1991, the last year they won the World Series. Minnesota’s 45-20 record since All-Star break is tops in the majors.

Lew Ford, one of 14 rookies who started in this game, homered and hit an RBI triple for Minnesota.

Ben Broussard homered for Cleveland, which has lost 16 of 21 games.

Jesse Orosco (1-0) pitched one-third of an inning for the victory. Eddie Guardado pitched the ninth for his 41st save in 44 chances.

With the score tied at 2 in the eighth, Cuddyer greeted reliever Rafael Betancourt (2-2) with a solo shot to center field. The 423-foot homer, on a 3-2 pitch, was Cuddyer’s third.

Broussard hit a 409-foot drive off Kyle Lohse with one out in the third inning for his 16th homer of the year.

The Indians’ 1-0 lead stood until Ford hit a solo homer off C.C. Sabathia with one out in the sixth. It was Ford’s third home run of the year.

Minnesota took a 2-1 lead in the seventh when Denny Hocking hit a two-out single and scored on Ford’s triple.

But, the Indians used a passed ball and wild pitch in the eighth to tie it again. Jhonny Peralta walked to lead off the inning, moved to second on Rob Bowen’s passed ball and got to third on Angel Santos’ groundout.

With Coco Crisp at the plate, reliever Rick Reed bounced a wild pitch past Bowen, allowing Peralta to score. One out later Casey Blake singled and stole second base, but was stranded there when Dustan Mohr made a diving play in right field.

Lohse, Minnesota’s likely Game 3 starter in the division series, allowed one run and four hits in six innings.

Sabathia allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings.

Notes: On Tuesday and Wednesday, Cleveland started a total of 12 different rookies against the Twins. ... The 18 starters in the game played in a combined 905 minor-league games this year. The only players who did not play in the minors this year are Hocking, Matthew LeCroy and Mohr for the Twins and Blake for the Indians. ... Sabathia finished the season 2-0 with a 1.99 ERA against the Twins. ... Minnesota rookie Alex Prieto singled in the third inning for his first major league hit in his fourth at-bat. ... The 11-game winning streak is Minnesota’s third longest in team history. ... The attendance was 32,986 for an 81-game average of 24,025. Seven of the eight crowds on the Twins’ final homestand have been 30,000 or bigger.

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