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Published: Wednesday, 8/29/2007

Borowski's save is 'entertaining' as Indians barely hold off Twins

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CLEVELAND - Watching Joe Borowski work the ninth inning is riveting theater. Unless you're an Indians fan.

"Pretty much everything that can happen has happened," Borowski said following his latest circus-like save.

Borowski worked out of another late mess for Jake Westbrook, rookie Asdrubal Cabrera drove in the go-ahead run and Cleveland extended its lead in the AL Central with a 6-5 win over the Minnesota Twins last night.

Coupled with Detroit's 6-3 loss at Kansas City, the Indians moved 3 1/2 games up on the second-place Tigers. It's Cleveland's largest lead since June 5.

Travis Hafner hit a two-run homer off Boof Bonser (6-11) and Grady Sizemore added a solo shot for the Indians, who are 9-3 since Aug. 15 - the day Cabrera replaced Josh Barfield in the starting lineup.

Borowski came on to protect a three-run lead in the ninth and promptly gave up rookie Brian Buscher's first major league homer.

With one out and a runner at first, Jason Bartlett hit a grounder to third that ticked the bag and went through Casey Blake's legs into the corner for a double.

Borowski gave up Torii Hunter's sacrifice fly that brought the Twins within 6-5, but Cleveland's closer froze Justin Morneau with a fastball for a strikeout and his AL-leading 38th save.

"I've come to the realization that statistically I'm going to have to wear it," said Borowski, 2-5 with 5.64 ERA and five blown saves. "But as long as we save it, that's all I care about.

"As long as we win, bottom line, that's all that counts."

Jason Tyner had four hits for the Twins, who had won a season-high five in a row before losing the first two games of the series. Minnesota has fallen 7 1/2 games behind the Indians.

The loss overshadowed three spectacular defensive plays by Minnesota's Hunter, Nick Punto and Tyner. Hunter's catch on the dead run before crashing into the center-field wall in the seventh was the best of the bunch.

"We have to figure out a way to get a win," said manager Ron Gardenhire, who was ejected in the fifth. "Last night was a terrible ballgame. They pounded us (8-3). Tonight we battled and had a chance to win. You can cry over it or do whatever you want, but you've got to keep playing."

Westbrook (5-7) allowed three runs - all in the fifth - and 10 hits in 62/3 innings.

The right-hander, who spent six weeks on the disabled list and began the season 1-6, went 4-1 this month with 1.90 ERA.

Rafael Perez got a big out in the seventh and Rafael Betancourt worked a perfect eighth before turning it over to Borowski, who has gotten the job done more times than not despite some hair-raising moments.

"He got it done and that's the bottom line," manager Eric Wedge said. "It's an end-result job, one of the few in baseball."

After Minnesota rallied to tie it in the fifth, Cabrera's RBI single in the bottom half put Cleveland ahead 4-3.

Kenny Lofton singled and moved up on Bonser's errant pickoff throw. The Twins intentionally walked Sizemore with two outs to face Cabrera, who has sparked the Indians since Barfield was benched.

Cabrera singled to score Lofton, who slid home ahead of Michael Cuddyer's throw from right.

Ryan Garko's RBI single and Jhonny Peralta's sac fly put Cleveland ahead 6-3 in the eighth.

The Twins flashed in the field twice in the sixth.

Tyner made a leaping catch at the wall in left to rob Victor Martinez of extras. Then, second baseman Punto raced across the outfield grass to barehand Garko's big bouncer, and while falling to his back, managed to make a one-hop throw in time to get the slow-footed Indians first baseman.

After his grab in the eighth, Hunter laid on the warning track in a daze after racing back to steal a deep shot by Blake. Hunter appeared to be OK as he left the field, and he had an ice wrap on his right shoulder following the game.

"I banged it up a little bit," Hunter said. "The main thing is I lost my breath. I couldn't get up at first. I was dizzy, but I felt better after a couple of minutes."

After Cabrera reached on a fielder's choice in the first, Hafner connected for his 19th homer and first since Aug. 6. It was his 125th career homer as Cleveland's DH, tying Andre Thornton's club record.

Sizemore made it 3-0 in the third with his 23rd homer.

The Twins rallied for three runs - on five singles - off Westbrook in the fifth.



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