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Preview: Twins at Indians

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: May 08 2014 12:01:22 AM CDT
Updated On: May 08 2014 12:01:24 AM CDT

The Cleveland Indians try for their second consecutive series victory when they host the Minnesota Twins on Thursday in the finale of their four-game set. Cleveland won its second game of the series 4-3 on Wednesday when third baseman Carlos Santana leaned into the stands to catch a pop up for the final out in the top of the ninth with two aboard, and Mike Aviles delivered an RBI single in the bottom half. It was the Indians' first walk-off victory of the season after they recorded 11 in 2013.Cleveland closer John Axford earned the victory after allowing game-winning homers in his previous two appearances -- the Indians' only losses in their last six games as they began their seven-game homestand by taking two of three from the Chicago White Sox. "I felt good," Axford told reporters after escaping trouble in the ninth inning. "Physically, I feel great. It worked out perfect. I got a day off (Tuesday) and was able to rest up." Minnesota's Kevin Correia and Cleveland's Justin Masterson square off after they each earned their first victory of 2014 in their last turn.TV: 12:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN North (Minnesota), STO (Cleveland)PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Kevin Correia (1-3, 6.09 ERA) vs. Indians RH Justin Masterson (1-1, 4.01)Correia yielded one run and five hits in seven innings while retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced in earning his first victory since Sept. 1, a 6-1 win over Baltimore on Saturday. "Like I've always said, that's what I'm here to do," the 33-year-old San Diego native told reporters. "I felt like I've thrown some games where I've had a good chance to win a game and to go a month without getting one is hard. It just puts more pressure on you every time you go out there so it's nice to get that first one." Correia is 1-2 with a 3.78 ERA in three starts against Cleveland, including a 3-2 victory July 20 when he yielded two runs and three hits in six innings.Masterson lowered his ERA by 0.83 after yielding four hits and striking out six in 7 1/3 innings of Cleveland's 2-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday for his first win since Aug. 21. "It's nice to go out and pitch well," the 29-year-old Kingston, Jamaica, native told reporters. "Anytime you're not doing as well as you hoped, it's hard not to press. But I've been really happy with my last four starts (1-1, 2.96 ERA, 26 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings)." Masterson was roughed up by Minnesota on April 6, allowing six runs (five earned) and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings of a 10-7 loss, and is 3-7 in 22 appearances (17 starts) against the Twins. WALK-OFFS1. Cleveland C Yan Gomes committed his major league-leading ninth error Wednesday - he made three in 85 games last season.2. A Minnesota pitcher hasn't struck out 10 or more since Francisco Liriano fanned 10 against Baltimore on July 18, 2012 - a span of 265 games - after Ricky Nolasco struck out nine Wednesday.3. Indians' starters have a combined 1.26 ERA in the last five games.PREDICTION: Indians 3, Twins 2