Twins left-hander too much for struggling Indians

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 21, 2004

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Terry Mulholland was too smart for Cleveland.

The 41-year-old left-hander pitched six strong innings and shut down the Indians for the second time in a week, leading the Minnesota Twins to an 8-1 victory Saturday.

''He's amazing,'' teammate Justin Morneau said. ''It just shows his experience and how he can pick up hitters' tendencies and use it against them.''

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Morneau and Torii Hunter hit consecutive homers for the first-place Twins, who opened a six-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central.

Mulholland yielded one earned run in eight innings at Jacobs Field last Sunday, when Minnesota snapped the Indians' six-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory in 10 innings.

Cleveland, which pulled within a game of the Twins last Saturday, has lost six straight since. The Indians have been outscored 43-12 during their skid, and Minnesota has won five of six during that span.

''Going back-to-back against any team is pretty tough,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''That got us feeling pretty good and that's what this game's all about.''

This time, Mulholland (4-6) allowed just one run and seven hits, striking out four and walking two.

''I tried to mix it up and take what I did in Cleveland last week and build on it,'' he said. ''I made some adjustments and threw pitches in a different order.''

In their past six games, Twins starters are 4-0 with a 2.93 ERA.

''We had better at-bats against him, but the result wasn't much different,'' Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. ''We're still in this thing. We've proven that just by what we did over a week's time.''

Cristian Guzman drove in three runs for the Twins, and Corey Koskie led off the eighth with his 20th homer. Koskie has a nine-game hitting streak, going 14-for-34 (.412) with five homers.

Chad Durbin (5-5), who had not allowed a run in 14 innings coming in, gave up six runs - five earned - in 4 1-3 innings. He lost for the first time since returning from the minors on July 24.