MINNEAPOLIS — Justin Masterson took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning, Michael Brantley hit a bases-loaded triple and the Cleveland Indians beat the Minnesota Twins 7-1 today to avoid a three-game sweep.
Masterson (11-7) had faced the minimum through six, allowing only a hit batter, when Brian Dozier led off the seventh with a broken-bat blooper to center field that dunked in under the glove of a sliding Drew Stubbs for a double.
The Indians led 3-0 on Mike Aviles’ sacrifice fly and two-run homer by Jason Kipnis when they loaded the bases with one out in the fifth on a walk to Kipnis and consecutive singles by Nick Swisher and Carlos Santana off starter Scott Diamond (5-9).
With right-hander Anthony Swarzak warming in the bullpen, acting manager Terry Steinbach — in charge because Ron Gardenhire had the flu — visited Diamond on the mound. Diamond got Mark Reynolds to pop out to first for the second out, but Brantley hit a liner to the wall in right-center for a standup triple that cleared the bases and ended Diamond’s day.
The Twins scored when Dozier came in from third on Joe Mauer’s one-out grounder to second that was bobbled by Kipnis for an error, his second in two days. But the first-time All-Star also homered for the second time in two days, both opposite-field liners to left.
Diamond, the Twins’ best starter last season as a rookie (12-9, 3.59 ERA), gave up six runs, five earned, on seven hits and three walks as the left-hander lost his third straight decision. He hasn’t won since beating the White Sox on June 20, and his ERA rose to 5.53.
Masterson finished the seventh before being pulled after 91 pitches for right-hander C.C. Lee. Masterson, also selected to his first All-Star team this year, was charged with an earned run on one hit and struck out eight in his first victory since June 30 against the White Sox. He lowered his ERA to 3.60.
Masterson plunked Aaron Hicks in the elbow in the third inning, but Hicks was thrown out attempting to steal for the second out and Pedro Florimon grounded out to end the inning. That was as much as the Twins could muster against Masterson until the seventh, when Dozier looped the first pitch into shallow center.
NOTES: Indians RHP Corey Kluber could have his next start pushed back a day after leaving Saturday night’s 3-2 loss after five innings because of a hip injury. Kluber said Sunday his left hamstring tightened up on him during the game and was sore, but he didn’t anticipate missing his next scheduled bullpen session Monday. ... Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe has struck out six straight times — and he fanned seven times in the series. He was pulled in the eighth for pinch-hitter Doug Bernier, who walked to reach base for the first time in the majors. The infielder was 0 for 4 in two games with the Colorado Rockies in 2008.