- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2016

CLEVELAND (AP) - If only Minnesota played Cleveland more often, the Twins would be true contenders this season.

Despite a 6-21 record against the rest of the AL Central, Minnesota moved to 8-4 against the Indians with a 13-5 win on Wednesday night.

“You have to enjoy these things when they come along,” manager Paul Molitor said. “We know they can go the converse way as well.”

Minnesota has outscored Cleveland 35-16 and has outhit the Indians 46-27 over the first three games of the series.

“Hitting is contagious and guys are having good at-bats from top to bottom,” first baseman Joe Mauer said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Mauer had four of Minnesota’s 15 hits, including a single, two doubles and a triple. He’s now 10 for 15 in the series and admitted that it’s taken some pain for him to start heating up at the plate.

“I’ve been really staying on that back leg, driving the ball,” Mauer said. “I’ve been a little more sore, but it’s been feeling good getting some results.”

Twins starter Tyler Duffey (6-8), who allowed five runs and eight hits over six innings, was happy to be in the dugout with Mauer, as opposed to facing the veteran.

“He’s on a tear right now,” Duffey said. “I wouldn’t want to throw to him.”

Adding to Mauer’s big night, Brian Dozier finished 2 for 5 including a three-run homer in the ninth, while Max Kepler finished the game with two singles and two RBIs.

Kepler is now 7 for 12 in the series with four homers, 10 RBIs and six walks.

The rookie’s two-RBI single in the third was a bit controversial, as the blooper to right looked to be caught on a dive by Lonnie Chisenhall. Indians manager Terry Francona immediately challenged the play, but the call on the field stood.

Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway were ejected for arguing by plate umpire Manny Gonzalez after the review.

“It was close and it’s one of those things were they’re not going to turn it over unless they’re 100 percent sure,” Molitor said. “You can understand the reaction because that’s a big play in the game.”

Scoring five runs in the third after taking a 3-0 lead in the second, the Twins bounced Trevor Bauer (7-5) out of the game after just 2 2/3 innings.

INJURY UPDATE

Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe (broken left rib) began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Rochester, but there’s no timetable for his return. Plouffe, who hasn’t played since July 1, is batting .252 with seven homers and 27 RBIs in 58 games. .

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: OF Byron Buxton (right knee) wasn’t in the lineup for the third straight game, but manager Paul Molior said he’s ready to play

Indians: OF Michael Brantley (sore right shoulder) hit in the batting cage Wednesday. He’s played in only 11 games this season after surgery in November.

UP NEXT

Twins: LHP Hector Santiago, acquired from the Angels before the trade deadline, makes his debut with Minnesota in the series finale. He won his last six starts with Los Angeles.

Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger will be called up from Triple-A Columbus to start against the Twins.

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