Created on Saturday, 24 August 2013 Written by TOM WITHERS, AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — Michael Bourn took a risk and it backfired.
He got stopped dead in his tracks on Friday night and so did the Indians.
Bourn got thrown out trying to steal third base in the pivotal sixth inning, defusing Cleveland's last scoring threat and the Indians had their climb back into the playoff picture slowed with a 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
With one out, Bourn took off on his own and was pegged at third by Minnesota catcher Chris Hermann, who made a perfect throw to nab Cleveland's speedster.
"It kind of killed the inning a little bit," Bourn said of his gamble to run on a 2-0 pitch. "If I would have stayed we would have had bases loaded, but that happens. I take blame for it."
There was other blame to go around as the Indians missed a chance to make up ground in the wide-open, wild-card race.
Samuel Deduno pitched six solid innings and Josh Willingham busted out of a slump with a two-run double in the seventh as the Twins continued to play spoiler and befuddle the Indians.
Deduno (8-7) allowed just one run and three hits for his first win since July 27 as the Twins improved to 14-7 against the Indians since last September.
Willingham was in an 0-for-15 slide before his double off reliever Cody Allen put the Twins ahead 4-1.
Ubaldo Jimenez (9-8) struck out 10 in six innings, but the Indians didn't support the right-hander and were leap-frogged by Baltimore in the wild-card standings.
Also, the Indians dropped six games behind AL Central-leading Detroit, which won 6-1 over the New York Mets.
Cleveland was home after a 6-3 road trip that put it back in the playoff conversation. One of six teams fighting for two wild-card berths, the Indians, as close to first as they've been this late in the season since 2007, were hoping to keep their momentum going against a Twins team playing for just pride with just over a month left in the regular season.
Minnesota, though, stopped Cleveland's postseason push. The Indians may want to make the playoffs, but didn't show much urgency to get to October.
Bourn, though, stayed positive.
"We ain't lost no momentum," he said. "We're all right. We just lost a game, that's all that was. We'll be back tomorrow and be ready to play."
Deduno walked four, including three in the sixth, but was able to work around trouble. The right-hander was clinging to a 2-1 lead when the Twins, who are missing All-Star catcher Joe Mauer because of a concussion, scored twice in the seventh.
After walks by relievers Bryan Shaw and Rich Hill, Willingham came up with two outs and drove a pitch from Allen over right fielder Drew Stubbs' head to give the Twins their three-run lead.
"It was nice to help the team for once," Willingham said. "I haven't done very much lately to help us win games. We've been playing pretty good. It's nice to be able to contribute. It was a big win for us."
But it was the Indians' inability to capitalize on those three walks the previous inning that cost them.
Deduno walked Bourn and Nick Swisher to open the inning, and manager Terry Francona had All-Star second baseman Jason Kipnis try to bunt.
But after failing twice to get the ball down and advance the runners, Kipnis struck out looking, dropping him into an 0-for-18 hole.
"I had him bunt because he's had a tough time with Deduno," said Francona, noting Kipnis was 1 of 11 with six strikeouts against the right-hander before the at-bat. "That one would be on me."
Bourn was given the green light to steal on a 2-0 pitch to Carlos Santana, and thought he got a decent jump, but was thrown out by Herrmann, who is filling in for Mauer.
Then, following Deduno's third walk, Michael Brantley tapped out weakly to end the threat.
"I felt like I knew what was going on and he made a great throw," said Bourn, who has 19 steals but has been thrown out 10 times.
"Every time I try to run this year they have a sixth sense or something. But that's part of base stealing. If I feel like I can get him, I'll try to get him."
It was a typically uneven outing for Jimenez, who had some bright moments and a few where he appeared on the ropes. He gave up two runs and five hits.
Jimenez struck out the side in the first two innings, but trailed 2-1 as the Twins got RBI doubles from Pedro Florimon and Herrmann in the second.
"I don't know if he got mad, but he reared back and competed and let it go," Francona said. "I thought tonight was the best stuff he had all year. He was really good."
Jimenez was in trouble right away.
The Twins loaded the bases in the first on two walks and a double, but the right-hander, whose inconsistency has been maddening for the Indians, kept them off the scoreboard by striking out Willingham, Ryan Doumit and Trevor Plouffe, who has pounded Cleveland pitching this season.