Trevor Bauer grinded through 6 1/3 innings and Edwin Encarnacion drove in three runs in the late going as the Indians beat the Twins, 6-2, at Target Field. It was just the fourth time in 11 games that the AL Central-leading Indians have beaten the Twins this season.
On Monday, the rebuilding Twins traded Zach Duke and Lance Lynn. On Tuesday, just before the 4 p.m. deadline, they sent Brian Dozier to the Dodgers. They are disappearing right in front of the Indians, but it doesn't matter.
When the Indians play the Twins, nothing is easy.
Bauer (10-6, 2.34) reached double figures in wins for the fourth straight year. He improved to 5-7 lifetime against the Twins, who have always been hard on him.
When Bauer left with one out in the seventh, manager Terry Francona went with his two-headed closer to finish the game. Brad Hand, a Minneapolis native, retired four of the five batters he faced. After Max Kepler doubled with two out in the eighth, Cody Allen relieved and ended the inning.
Allen worked the ninth for his 21st save. Hand and Allen have saved a combined 46 games this season.
Encarnacion gave the Indians a 5-2 lead with a two-out single in the seventh off Matt Belisle, who opened the season in the Tribe's pen. He added another RBI in the ninth on an infield grounder that scored Francisco Lindor from third. Encarnacion has 76 RBI.
The Twins took a 1-0 lead against Bauer in the second. Miguel Sano opened with a double, took third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Jake Cave's sacrifice fly.
The Indians pushed back to take a 2-1 lead in the third against Twins starter Kyle Gibson (5-8, 3.47). Roberto Perez started the inning with a double off the wall in left center field. It was Perez's first extra-base hit of any kind since he hit two doubles on June 18 against the White Sox.
Greg Allen bunted Perez to third. The rookie center fielder's speed turned it into a single that withstood a challenge by the Twins. After Lindor walked to load the bases, Perez scored on Michael Brantley's 6-4-3 double-play grounder.
It looked like the Indians were going let another opportunity slip away — they went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position in Monday's 5-4 loss — when Jose Ramirez doubled for a 2-1 lead.
Ramirez put the Tribe ahead 3-1 with another two-out RBI in the fifth off Gibson. Perez walked to start the inning, and Allen followed with his second hit of the night. Lindor sent a bouncer back to the mound and Gibson threw to third to force Perez. Brantley forced Lindor at second, but Ramirez singled to right for his 78th RBI.
He entered the game ranked third in the AL in RBI behind Boston's J.D. Martinez and Oakland's Khris Davis.
Bauer, who struggled with his command, allowed a leadoff homer to Logan Morris in the sixth to make it 3-2. It was only the seventh homer Bauer has allowed this season.
What it means
The Indians ended July with a 14-11 record. The have had a winning record in every month this season except March, when they went 1-1.
Gibson threw 98 pitches, 57 (58 percent) for strikes. Bauer threw 102 pitches, 60 (59 percent) for strikes.
Thanks for coming
The Indians and Twins drew 25,482 to Target Field on Tuesday night. First pitch was at 8:10 p.m. with a temperature of 83 degrees.
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (12-5, 3.89) will face the Twins and lefty Adalberto Mejia (1-0, 3.65) on Wednesday at 1:10 p.m. The game can be seen only on Facebook Watch. WLKR 95.3 will carry the game on radio as well.
Carrasco has won his last four decisions dating back ot July 6. This will be his third start against the Twins this season, and he'll be trying to end his two-game skid against them.
Mejia replaced scheduled starter Lance Lynn, who was traded to the Yankees on Monday. He is 1-2 with a 2.70 ERA in three starts against the Tribe.