MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — This season has long been lost for the Minnesota Twins. The problems created by an overmatched starting rotation and underwhelming performances in the middle infield proved to be too much to overcome.
A second straight miserable season has opened the door for a bevy of new faces going forward, and Samuel Deduno and Pedro Florimon are pushing hard to be a part of the solution going into next season.
Deduno struck out six in seven innings and Florimon made two stellar defensive plays to go with a double and a triple, lifting the Twins to a 7-2 win over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night.
"He knows he's making a good impression on the coaches and the team, and just keep playing the way he's playing, and he feels a lot of confidence he's going to be back next year," second baseman Alexi Casilla said while serving as the 25-year-old Florimon's interpreter.
Deduno (6-3) gave up just three hits and walked three, Ryan Doumit homered and Justin Morneau drove in two runs for the Twins, who took the final three games of the four-game series.
"Everything was working tonight," Deduno said. "Changeup, curveball, slider. Everything was working."
Lonnie Chisenhall homered in his first game since June 29 for the stumbling Indians, who are an AL-worst 15-41 since the All-Star break to fall into a tie with the Twins for last place in the Central division. Justin Masterson (11-13) gave up six runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings.
It was a dangerous game for baserunners. Deduno hit Shin-Soo Choo in the helmet with an errant pickoff attempt in the third, a play reminiscent of the one from Boston reliever Franklin Morales in June that knocked Seattle's Franklin Gutierrez out for almost two months. Choo remained in the game.
After his RBI double in the seventh, Florimon was hit in the back of the head on a throw from Masterson while diving back to second base. There was an audible thud from the impact, and the shortstop remained down for a minute while trainers rushed to him. He too remained in the game and eventually scored from third on a wild pitch.
"He said it just hurt in the moment but nothing major to come out of the game," Casilla said.
Being a little wild is nothing new for Deduno, who walked 36 batters in his first eight starts. But the Dominican right-hander has been able to harness his control a little better of late, allowing just 11 hits and walking six in his last three starts. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Tribe and has now allowed three hits or fewer over seven-plus innings in three of his 12 starts.
"I was going, 'Oh, no. He's going to throw a 150-pitch no-hitter and I'm going to leave him out there,'" manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Deduno was the beneficiary of several solid defensive plays, including a diving catch from Ben Revere in center field in the second inning, Joe Mauer leaning over the Indians' dugout railing to snag a foul ball in the fourth and Florimon barehanding a soft grounder to get Casey Kotchman in the seventh.
That play may have been the biggest, because Chisenhall, who broke his right arm after being hit by a pitch from Baltimore's Jake Arrieta, hit a solo homer to right field on the next pitch, making it 3-2.
Minnesota scored three more in the seventh and Doumit hit a drive to center in the eighth to put the game away.
"We couldn't do anything against Deduno," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He had a good slider and he threw it at any time in the count, and we couldn't do much against him."
Mauer had two hits and an RBI to raise his average to .319 and Casilla added two more highlight-reel plays at second for the Twins.
The Indians played without All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who was given the day off after leaving the game on Sunday with a sore right wrist. The injury first flared up last week during batting practice. Cabrera had X-rays that showed no broken bones and is day to day.
The Indians (59-82) have lost 11 of their last 15 to fall a season-worst 23 games under .500.
NOTES: Acta on Cabrera: "We're not going to put him out there until he's ready to play pain-free." ... Twins OF Chris Parmelee was scratched a few hours before the game with a strained right groin. He is day to day. ... The announced attendance of 27,526 was the lowest in Target Field's two-plus seasons. ... Doumit's 16 HRs this season are a new career high.