What ever becomes of the 2010 Cleveland Indians, this squad can be remembered for something never achieved by an Indians team since the beginning of the All-Star Game back in 1933. Never before had the Tribe come out of the All-Star Break and won its first five games.
That ended on Monday night when the Tribe grabbed a 10-4 victory over the host Minnesota Twins behind a season-best 20-hit attack highlighted by five consecutive two-out hits in a 5-fun fifth inning at Target Field.
Prior to this year, Cleveland had won its first four after the All-Star Game twice before: 1970, when the team finished fifth in the AL East, 32 games behind Baltimore at 76-86 under Al Dark and 1995, when the Indians won the AL pennant for the first time in 41 years with a 100-44 record under Mike Hargrove.
With eight different players getting at least two hits, the Indians got a career-best four-hit game from Trevor Crowe, who started thing going with an RBI double in a 2-run second that gave Cleveland a 1-0 lead it never relinquished.
Jason Donald, who was 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBI, followed with a run scoring ground out off Twins starter and loser Scott Baker (7-9) who gave up six runs and 10 of Cleveland’s 20 hits in just 4.2 innings.
The 20-hit effort topped the 18 hits Cleveland got against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in a 9-2 road win on April 27.
After the Twins scored in the fourth to cut the lead to 2-1, the Tribe then sent 10 batters to the plate in the fifth to put the game away.
Jhonny Peralta pushed the Indians lead to 3-1 with a sacrifice fly for the second out of the inning. But the next five Tribe hitters had 2-out singles off Baker and two relievers to score four more times and take a 7-1 edge.
Aaron Laffey, (2-3) who was in trouble in nearly every inning, went 5.0 innings, giving up an unearned run on five hits with four walks and a pair of strike outs for the win.
Behind Crowe’s 4-hit night, Jayson Nix added a 3-for-6 performance with two RBI while Carlos Santana, Travis Hafner, Matt LaPorta, Donald and Shelley Duncan, who replaced starter Austin Kearns in right field, all had two hits each.
Seven different Cleveland players scored with Duncan, Crowe and Donald each scoring twice while Nix, Crowe and Donald each contributing two RBI.
For the Twins, who entered the game 1.5 games behind Central Division leading Chicago after taking three of four at home over the weekend from the White Sox, the highlight was limited to having designated hitter Jim Thome hit his 575th home run.
Thome, the all-time Indians home run hitter with 334 in a Tribe uniform from 1991-2002, is now eight behind Mark McGuire, who is 10th with 583.
Thome’s sixth inning solo shot also gave the former Indian 1,595 RBI, good enough to tie Hall of Famer third baseman MIke Schmidt for 33rd on the all-time list and remain one RBI behind another Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett.
The series continues at 8:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday with Cleveland’s Justin Masterson (3-8, 5.31 ERA) facing Minnesota’s Kevin Slowey (8-5, 4.95). The final game of the 3-game set is 1:10 p.m. EDT Wednesday matinee when Jake Westbrook (5-5, 4.75) faces Francisco Liriano (7-7, 3.76).