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CLEVELAND 10, TWINS 4

Up next: 6:05 p.m. today at Cleveland • FSN, 1500-AM

The slide reaches five

  • Article by: La Velle E. Neal III
  • Star Tribune
  • July 29, 2007 - 11:17 PM

CLEVELAND - After a third consecutive night of flat play led to a third consecutive rout on Friday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had seen enough.

Gardenhire, after a 10-4 loss to the Indians at Jacobs Field, tore into the Twins after they ran their losing streak to a season-worst five games.

"It's getting embarrassing. That's what I told the baseball team," Gardenhire said. "It's one thing to get beat. It's another to get embarrassed and we're getting embarrassed. Can't handle that. It doesn't happen around here and it is not going to start.

"We won't get embarrassed."

Opponents have outscored the Twins 30-5 in their past three games, the worst three-game stretch of baseball since Detroit outscored them 33-1 during a series sweep last season.

"This game is very humbling," reliever Juan Rincon said. "One day, you're on top of the hill. Another day you're underneath the ground. We need to get the job done."

The Twins lost 7-0 on Tuesday to Toronto, the big blow being a three-run homer by Vernon Wells.

They were crushed 13-1 on Wednesday behind a season-high 11-run inning in the sixth by the Blue Jays.

Thursday's day off was a needed break, the club figured.

On Friday, a six-run third inning, punctuated by Jhonny Peralta's three-run homer, enabled Cleveland to race to a 10-0 lead as Indians righthander Paul Byrd cruised to his ninth victory. Peralta hit two homers and tied a career high with five RBI. The Indians are 6-0 against the Twins this season.

"We played terrible. We just stunk," Gardenhire said. "We put some swings on the ball. We just missed the plays. We let them jump us and we played terrible baseball. Not acceptable baseball. We have to be better than that."

Twins righthander Boof Bonser (5-7) fell apart and was lifted after 22/3 innings, four earned runs, six hits and two walks. It was the shortest outing by a Twins starter since Matt Garza lasted 2 2/3 innings last Sept. 30.

The third inning began when Brian Buscher, playing in his first major league game, threw high to first on a routine grounder by Josh Barfield. A sure double play was botched later in the inning when Bonser overran first base and missed Nick Punto's throw. The throw sailed toward the Twins dugout as a run scored.

Bonser gave up a single before Peralta hit a 436-foot homer to left to give Cleveland a 5-0 lead.

"It seemed like everything I threw up there, I couldn't get them to hit it at anybody," said Bonser, who has lost his past five decisions.

Jason Kubel's two-run homer was one of the few Twins highlights on a day in which many players wondered who will be dealt before Tuesday's nonwaiver trade deadline.

A Twins scout was on hand for Friday's Mets-Nationals game after a Mets scout was seen at the Metrodome last week during the Twins' homestand. New York is looking for a second baseman, leading to speculation that Luis Castillo could be a target.

Other Twins are wondering about their futures, too.

"Guys are waiting to see what's going to happen," Twins outfielder Torii Hunter said. "That's not the main reason [for the losing] but it has something to do with it."

But that's no excuse.

"You shouldn't tolerate this," Hunter said.

La Velle E. Neal III • lneal@startribune.com

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