- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

CLEVELAND (AP) - Jason Kipnis didn’t like the lack of energy at Progressive Field. He was even unhappier about the outcome of the game.

Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber gave up three first-inning runs, and the Cleveland Indians lost to the Minnesota Twins 4-2 Monday night in a game crucial to the wild-card hopes of both teams.

The defeat was a big blow to Cleveland’s slim postseason chances. The Indians, who entered four games behind Houston in the race for the second AL wild card, have only seven left.

“It hurts. It hurts,” said Kipnis, a two-time All-Star second baseman. “We could have come out with more energy and I think we could have done a better job all along in the game.

“The energy was low in the crowd and there wasn’t much energy in our dugout, either. We can’t have that.”

Kipnis did his best to fire up the 10,007 in attendance in the sixth inning. After sliding into third base with a leadoff triple, he motioned to fans behind the home dugout, urging them to stand up and cheer.

It worked momentarily, and then again when Kipnis scored on Francisco Lindor’s groundout against Twins left-hander Tommy Milone (9-5). But the Indians did not advance a runner past first base the rest of the game, finishing with six hits.

“Milone was throwing his changeup effectively at any point and any time,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “We fell right into his hands with popups and fly balls because we were trying too hard to make something happen at the plate.”

Lindor accounted for Cleveland’s other run with a homer in the first. The rookie shortstop has 11 home runs and 49 RBIs and is batting .319 in 93 games.

Kluber (8-16), who is winless since Aug. 14, allowed four runs in six innings and took over the AL lead in losses. He became the first Indians pitcher with 16 defeats in a season since Greg Swindell in 1991, but also posted his 700th career strikeout.

Trevor Plouffe provided the biggest hit for Minnesota with a two-run homer in the first. Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano each had a double high off the outfield wall.

“I left some balls elevated, and they came out swinging and took advantage of them,” said Kluber, who is 0-4 with a 5.13 ERA in his last six starts. “If you leave a ball up and over the plate, they’ve got a good chance to do damage on it.”

Kluber missed three turns in the rotation earlier in September with a strained hamstring, but still has the support of his manager and Kipnis.

“I’ll take him at 80 percent compared to a lot of guys at 100 percent,” Kipnis said. “Corey is out there giving his best because he wants to help this team any way he can.”

FRIENDLY FOE

Twins manager Paul Molitor called the Indians clubhouse shortly after scratching ill right-hander Phil Hughes from his scheduled start in favor of Milone. Molitor was told Francona was using a treadmill. “Who is he trying to kid about that?” Molitor said, laughing. “When Tito called me back, he said, ‘Thanks a lot. Now I have to change my lineup, too.’”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Twins: LHP Brian Duensing (virus) was available to pitch, but Molitor opted not to use him. Duensing has appeared in one game since Sept. 17.

Indians: OF Michael Brantley (right shoulder) started his second straight game after missing the previous four. He went 0 for 4.

UP NEXT

Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson makes his career-high 32nd start of the season. He is 1-2 with a 6.99 ERA in six career outings against the Indians.

Indians: RHP Cody Anderson seeks to extend his four-game winning streak. He allowed one run in 6 2-3 innings against the Twins on Sept. 24.


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