Baker continues Cleveland mastery
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Scott Baker has no secret formula to explain his success against Cleveland.
Baker, who has won seven straight decisions, held the Indians to one run in six innings and beat them for the fourth time this season Saturday, pitching the Minnesota Twins to a 4-1 victory.
Baker is 4-0 with a 0.93 ERA in four starts against the Indians this year, but if the right-hander knows the reason for his dominance, he isn't giving many details.
"Good pitches get hitters out," he said. "If you make good pitches, you should be OK. That's the case against any team. For a long time this was a very tough team for me, but things change."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire doesn't have an explanation, either.
"You pitch well against a certain team and there's no rhyme or reason and you hit well against a certain team and there's no rhyme or reason," Gardenhire said. "It's one of those things."
Baker (13-7) hasn't lost since July 7, a span of 11 starts.
Four Twins pitchers held the Indians to four hits. Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 36th save in 41 chances. Nathan gave up back-to-back homers in the ninth inning and blew a save in his previous outing against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.
Jon Rauch allowed a hit in the seventh, and Matt Guerrier worked a perfect eighth.
Andy Marte homered for the Indians in the third, ending Baker's consecutive scoreless streak against the Indians at 18 innings.
"I was kind of fighting it a little bit," Baker said. "That happens. I made pitches when I needed to."
The only good news for the Indians is they might only have to face Baker one more time this season.
"Baker has been a tough matchup for us all year," manager Eric Wedge said. "For whatever reason, we just haven't been seeing him well. We take some pretty good swings, but we mishit them or end up fouling a lot of them back. He really works hard off his fastball and does a good job with it."
Baker struck out four and walked four while throwing 100 pitches. He began the season on the disabled list with shoulder stiffness and lost his first four starts, but is 7-0 with a 3.04 ERA in his last 11.
Baker's performance came at an opportune time for the Twins, who made a season-high four errors in Friday night's 5-2 loss.
"He's been our hottest pitcher," Gardenhire said. "He's been running off wins. You want him out there."
Baker held the Indians to three hits, but didn't get much offensive help from his teammates, who pushed across two runs in the fourth against Justin Masterson.
Jason Kubel walked and Jose Morales singled, leaving runners on first and third with two outs. Nick Punto's double down the left-field line scored Kubel, and Morales also came home when Jamey Carroll, normally a second baseman, couldn't come up with the ball as it bounced off the stands.
Carroll was charged with an error, making the second run unearned.
"The one ball that Punto hit goes right down the line," Masterson said. "Outside of that, everyone else put it on the ground like we wanted it to."
Masterson (4-7) allowed two runs -- one earned -- in six innings. The right-hander is 1-4 since being acquired on July 31 in the trade that sent catcher Victor Martinez to Boston.
Brendan Harris added a sacrifice fly in the eighth. Orlando Cabrera followed with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Twins slugger Justin Morneau was 0 for 5 and is hitless in 16 at-bats. He is 4 for 41 in his last 13 games.
Indians reliever Chris Perez extended his scoreless streak to 20 2-3 innings.