CLEVELAND — Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis hit two-run homers, Zach McAllister won his third straight start and the Cleveland Indians defeated the Minnesota Twins 7-2 tonight.
The win moved the Indians into third place in the crowded American League wild card race.
Santana’s two-run homer in the first got the Indians off to a quick start. Kipnis, who snapped an 0 for 19 skid with a first-inning single, homered in the third. Both home runs came off starter Liam Hendriks (0-2), who has lost 12 of his 13 career decisions.
McAllister (7-7) allowed two runs in 7 1-3 innings. Brian Dozier homered in the eighth and hit a sacrifice fly in the third for Minnesota’s only success against the right-hander, who has given up four earned runs in 19 2-3 innings in his winning streak.
Nick Swisher added a two-run double in the fifth for Cleveland, which won for only the second time in its last nine home games.
Kipnis reached in the first on a two-out single and scored when Santana homered to right. Kipnis’ homer bounced off the roof of Minnesota’s bullpen in right field, his first home run since July 21. Santana and Kipnis are tied for the team lead with 16 homers.
Hendriks, who was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to make the start, recorded his only career win at Progressive Field last season. The right-hander, a native of Australia, didn’t get the same results this time, allowing seven runs in 4 1-3 innings.
The Twins, who were 14-7 against the Indians since last September going into the game, couldn’t muster anything else against McAllister, who missed seven weeks earlier in the season because of a sprained middle finger on his pitching hand. He allowed two runs with seven strikeouts in six innings of a 5-2 win at Minnesota on Aug. 13.
The Indians, coming off a 6-3 road trip, looked flat in Friday night’s 5-1 loss in which they managed only six singles. Several Cleveland hitters have been struggling, including Michael Brantley, who broke an 0 for 22 slump with an RBI single in the fifth.
The Indians put the game away with the three-run fifth, which included three hits and two walks. A single by Drew Stubbs and a walk to Michael Bourn started the rally. Both runners scored on Swisher’s double to right-center. Hendriks was pulled one batter later. Anthony Swarzak walked Santana before Swisher scored on Brantley’s liner to left.
Hendriks was recalled to take the rotation spot of the ineffective Kyle Gibson, who was sent to Rochester earlier in the week. Hendriks’ only career win came against the Indians on Sept. 19 of last season when he allowed two runs in six innings in a 6-4 victory. That win snapped a string of 17 starts without a victory, the third-longest streak to begin a career in history.
The Twins announced before the game that catcher Joe Mauer, who was placed on the concussion list Tuesday, has been told by doctors to rest until early next week.
NOTES: Twins OF Oswaldo Arcia (left wrist) returned to action missing four games with a bone bruise. ... Indians manager Terry Francona said an MRI on OF Ryan Raburn’s sore right calf came back clean. Raburn is also bothered by a sore left heel, which according to Francona, came as a result from favoring the right leg. The Indians hope Raburn will be available by Tuesday. ... RHP Corey Kluber (sprained right middle finger) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday. ... The Twins optioned RHP Michael Tonkin to Triple-A Rochester to make room for Hendriks on their 25-man roster. Tonkin made two relief appearances for Minnesota, pitching 2 1-3 innings without allowing an earned run. ... Indians LHP Scott Kazmir (7-6) takes on Twins RHP Mike Pelfrey (5-10) in the three-game series finale Sunday. Kazmir was originally slated to pitch today, but was given an additional day between starts.