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Indians losing their grip

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Cleveland’s Matt LaPorta reacted after striking out against the Twins, who won their fifth straight on Monday. AL Central-leading Cleveland dropped its fifth in a row.
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CLEVELAND » They juggled their lineup, held a pregame meeting and came out swinging.

The Cleveland Indians still couldn’t stop their slide.

Their funk is getting funkier.

Minnesota’s Scott Baker survived a shaky start and Matt Tolbert drove in two runs as the Twins extended their season-high winning streak to five games with a 6-4 win Monday night over the falling-fast Indians, who lost their fifth straight and may soon cough up their lead in the AL Central.

"We’ve got to pull everything together," said Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. "We’ve got to do it soon. We’re going through a bad time right now."

Baker (3-4) was down 2-0 after throwing just four pitches as the Indians hit screaming line drives all over Progressive Field in the first. However, the right-hander bobbed and weaved his way around trouble and stayed in until the eighth. He allowed three earned runs and nine hits.

Josh Tomlin (7-3) lasted six innings for the Indians, who led their division by seven games as recently as May 23 but have dropped their seventh straight at home — their longest streak since 2003.

Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run homer and Michael Brantley added a solo shot for Cleveland.

"We can’t seem to get every part of the game right," said Indians manager Manny Acta, whose young team is facing its first adversity after a stunning start.

After being swept four straight by Texas over the weekend, the Indians were relieved the defending league champions left town and were replaced by the last-place Twins, who came in with baseball’s worst record. Minnesota, though, is playing its best ball in what has been a disappointing and injury-pocked season so far.

Suddenly, the Twins, two-time defending Central champs, have that winning feeling again.

"We’ve had a lot of tough losses," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "There’s a lot of excitement on our bench. There’s a lot better feeling that we have a chance to win right now. No matter what the score is we feel we can stay in the game."

The Indians couldn’t string anything together against Baker, pulled after allowing the first two batters to reach in the eighth. Reliever Jose Mijares got Carlos Santana to hit into a double play before Cabrera scored on an error to make it 6-4. Alex Burnett struck out Matt LaPorta to end the inning.

In the ninth, Twins closer Matt Capps allowed a leadoff walk, but got a strikeout and game-ending double play for his eighth save.

Acta feels his players are pressing.

"I can see that," he said. "I see guys instead of just taking what the pitcher gives them and using the whole field, just hooking everything and that comes when you are trying to hit three- four- and five-run homers with one swing. It’s impossible. They just need to relax."

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