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Lefty Laffey pitches deep into game to lead Cleveland over Twins

Cleveland's Trevor Crowe, left, slides into second base as Twins second baseman Nick Punto tries to get a handle on the ball in the fourth inning Wednesday. Crowe singled and advanced to second on Twins' Carlos Gomez' fielding error. AP Photo/Tony Dejak

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Aaron Laffey wants to play a role in the Cleveland Indians' revamped plans.

The left-hander rebounded from one of his worst performances to pitch a career-high eight innings and the rejuvenated Indians defeated the Minnesota Twins 8-1 Wednesday night for their eighth victory in 12 games.

"I was bearing down to get through eight," Laffey said. "I went out and attacked. I didn't take anything for granted."

The 24-year-old Laffey (5-3) knows that with 11 young pitchers recently added to the organization in a series of trades, there's increased competition for a job.

"I'm going to stay aggressive and try to throw quality strikes," he said.

Laffey was staked to an early lead as the first three batters in Cleveland's lineup -- Grady Sizemore, Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo -- along with No. 9 hitter Trevor Crowe combined to go 10 for 16 with five runs and seven RBIs.

Francisco Liriano (4-11) remained winless in five starts since June 28 as Minnesota lost for the fourth time in five games following a four-game winning streak.

He tied Baltimore's Jeremy Guthrie for the most losses in the AL.

"Frankie was battling," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He'd get ahead in the count and end up 3-2. He didn't pitch to contact and got himself into trouble."

Liriano agreed. "I was leaving balls over the plate," the left-hander said. "I've been making the same mistakes every start."

Minnesota's 3-4-5 hitters -- Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel -- came in hitting a collective .423 (11 for 26) with six RBIs against Laffey, but went 1 for 10 off him.

"I didn't really change anything, but it helped to have a good changeup against lefties tonight," Laffey said. "I threw a little of everything, fastballs, cutters, curves, sliders, changes."

It could have been worse for Liriano if not for a leaping catch by Denard Span against the right-field wall to take away Kelly Shoppach's bid for extra bases or possible home run leading off the fourth.

Minnesota's Orlando Cabrera had three hits, extending his hitting streak to 15 games to tie his career best. He doubled in the sixth, moved up on an error by first baseman Chris Gimenez, and eventually scored on a groundout by Morneau, his AL-leading 89th RBI that made it 4-1.

Cleveland extended its lead in the sixth off reliever R.A. Dickey on RBI doubles by Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera.

Liriano gave up four runs on eight hits and four runs over five innings. He had missed his previous start with a sore and swollen left forearm and is 0-3 with a 5.65 ERA in his last five starts.

"His health is good," Gardenhire said, adding that Liriano will make his next start.

"The options are very limited," Gardenhire said. "We can't go with a four-man rotation. We just don't have the starting pitching. It's not like we can take him out and put other guys in."