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Published: 8/6/2009

Laffey impressive as Indians rout Twins

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CLEVELAND - Aaron Laffey wants to play a role in the Cleveland Indians' revamped plans.

The left-hander rebounded from one of his worst performances to pitch a career-high eight innings, and the rejuvenated Indians defeated the Minnesota Twins 8-1 last night for their eighth victory in 12 games.

"I was bearing down to get through eight," Laffey said. "I went out and attacked. I didn't take anything for granted."

The 24-year-old Laffey (5-3) knows that with 11 young pitchers recently added to the organization in a series of trades, there's increased competition for a job.

"I'm going to stay aggressive and try to throw quality strikes," he said.

Laffey was staked to an early lead as the first three batters in Cleveland's lineup - Grady Sizemore, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Shin-Soo Choo - along with No. 9 hitter Trevor Crowe combined to go 10-for-16 with five runs and seven RBIs.

"That's baseball for you," manager Eric Wedge said after the Indians bounced back from a 10-1 loss to the Twins on Tuesday. "Laffey did a great job, we got some big two-out hits, and it was a different game."

Francisco Liriano (4-11) remained winless in five starts since June 28 as Minnesota lost for the fourth time in five games following a four-game winning streak. He tied Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie for the most losses in the AL.

Laffey gave up one unearned run on six hits, striking out five and walking one as he continued to alternate good and bad starts.

On July 29, he was tagged for seven runs in four innings in a 9-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. That came five days after yielding three hits and fanning seven over seven scoreless innings in a 9-0 win at Seattle.

Minnesota's 3-4-5 hitters - Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Jason Kubel - came in hitting a collective .423 (11 for 26) with six RBIs against Laffey, but went 1-for-10 off him.

"I didn't really change anything, but it helped to have a good changeup against lefties tonight," Laffey said. "I threw a little of everything, fastballs, cutters, curves, sliders, changes."

Jess Todd made his Indians debut in the ninth, yielding one hit. The right-hander was acquired from St. Louis as the player to be named in the trade that sent infielder Mark DeRosa to the Cardinals on June 27. He was called up from Triple-A Columbus.

Crowe had a bases-loaded single and Cabrera a sacrifice fly in the second inning to put Cleveland ahead 2-0.

Crowe singled with two outs in the fourth and made it to second when center fielder Carlos Gomez bobbled the ball for an error. Crowe moved up on a passed ball by Mauer and scored on an infield single by Sizemore. Choo singled in Sizemore to make it 4-0.

Minnesota's Orlando Cabrera had three hits, extending his hitting streak to 15 games.



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