CLEVELAND (AP) – Byron Buxton homered on Logan Allen’s second pitch and went 5 for 5. Mitch Garver hit two homers, and the struggling Twins connected six times to end a four-game losing streak with a 10-2 thumping of the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday. Buxton’s eighth homer triggered a three-homer barrage in the first off Allen (1-4), who allowed six home runs in a 12-batter span over two starts. Buxton added two doubles and two singles while getting five hits in a game for the first time and pushing his average to .438.
Not long after Buxton returned to the dugout in the first, Josh Donaldson hit a 425-foot homer. Allen walked Nelson Cruz and surrendered Jorge Polanco’s 426-foot homer into the left-field bleachers to give the Twins a 4-0 lead after 14 pitches.
J.A. Happ (2-0) took advantage of all the run support. The left-hander, who carried a no-hitter into the eighth inning against Pittsburgh in his previous start, allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings. Garver connected for a solo homer in the fifth and added a two-run rocket in the seventh off rookie Sam Hentges to make it 10-2. Williams Astudiollo also homered as Minnesota salvaged the three-game series finale and won for just the second time in 10 games.
Amed Rosario homered for the Indians, who went 3-5 in their homestand against the White Sox, Yankees, and Twins. Buxton came in batting .390 and was among the league leaders in several offensive categories, so Twins manager Rocco Baldelli moved him into the leadoff spot for the second time this season.
“The way he’s swinging the bat, I don’t think there’s any downside to it,” Baldelli said.
No, there wasn’t. The hunch paid off immediately as Buxton’s third career leadoff homer set the tone for the Twins, who connected for 1,201 feet of homers in the first of Allen.
The left-hander, who was rocked last week in a start against New York, got a sarcastic Bronx cheer from Indians fans when he finally threw a strike and again when recording an out. He was mercifully pulled in the second and probably won’t be in Cleveland much longer.
Buxton doubled with one out in the second to chase Allen, and one out later, Cruz delivered a two-run double off Trevor Stephan to make it 6-0.
Astudillo’s second homer put the Twins ahead 7-1 in the third, and Garver’s third homer – a shot that smacked off a beer sign in left – gave Happ a seven-run cushion in the fifth.
Unable to find good spots for Oliver Pérez to pitch, the Indians designated the 39-year-old left-hander for assignment. “It was having a tough time figuring out how to use him,” manager Terry Francona said. “He was kind of pitching in games that were spread out, which doesn’t kind of fit the role for a lefty specialist. I told him last night, ‘Man, I haven’t figured it out.’”
Pérez was re-signed this winter after spending the past three seasons with Cleveland.
Nick Wittgren returned to the club after being placed on paternity leave.
Twins: Minnesota will have Thursday off before beginning a three-game home series on Friday against Kansas City, with Michael Pineda starting. The Royals haven’t announced their starter.
Indians: Following an off day, the Indians open a three-game series in Chicago with Cy Young winner Shane Bieber (2-2) facing left-hander Dallas Keuchel (1-0).
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