MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Jason Kubel didn’t want to make another trip to the disabled list with knee pain. If
he continues to hit the way he did Thursday, he won’t have to worry about any down time.
Kubel hit a pair of three-run homers to back Scott Baker, who pitched seven effective innings for the
Minnesota Twins in an 11-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Kubel injured his left knee chasing a fly ball at Chicago on May 21 and missed the next three games.
Since he returned, he was 4 for 26 until hitting a single in the fourth inning Wednesday night.
On Thursday, Kubel’s first homer capped a four-run first against Fausto Carmona. The cleanup batter
followed an inning later with his second to give Minnesota a 7-0 lead.
"The swing’s come back and that’s all I can ask for," Kubel said.
It was his fourth career two-homer game and second of the season.
"He was out of whack a little bit, getting his legs underneath him," Twins manager Ron
Gardenhire said. "I think he was rolling over balls and it looked like he got a little pull happy
because of that. But he says he’s feeling better. And he doesn’t want to go on the DL, so that always
motivates people to swing better."
Kubel had surgery on his left knee and missed the entire 2005 season. After recovering from the injury,
he broke through with 20 home runs last season.
Assured of an everyday spot in the lineup this year, Kubel has responded.
"Just from the beginning of the season, it’s been a different feeling," he said.
Baker (3-6) has felt different his past few starts.
The right-hander took advantage of the early run support, staying around the strike zone and retiring his
first eight batters. He didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning while winning for the second time in
Baker credited a small change in his mechanics — standing taller in his delivery — for a victory against
the Brewers on May 24, but then allowed four runs and seven hits in a loss to Tampa Bay in his last
Against Cleveland, he appeared to be back in good form.
Baker struck out a career-high 10 and walked just one. He allowed three runs — two earned — and six hits.
"I threw down about as well as I have all season," Baker said. "I left a couple pitches
up, but we’re human beings. That’s just part of it. It’s definitely a game of adjustments and as long as
you continue to make those adjustments you should be fine."
Meanwhile, Carmona (2-6) failed to reach the third inning for the second time in three starts. He’s
allowed four or more runs in his last five starts, and has walked 24 batters in his last six.
"The way it’s been working in the bullpen has been great, and I’m looking forward to the next
game," Carmona said through a translator.
The bullpen sessions have offered a glimmer of hope for the right-hander who finished fourth in AL Cy
Young Award voting in 2007 after a 19-8 season.
"We’re going to continue to talk about it, continue to work and just go from there," Cleveland
manager Eric Wedge said. "He was on the plate more in his previous start and they knocked him
around pretty good. But today, he comes out and he’s working off the plate. We know what he needs to do.
He knows what he needs to do, but he’s just having a hard time doing it."
Carmona walked the first two batters he faced before Morneau singled to left, scoring Denard Span. Kubel
followed with a drive to straightaway center that just missed the glove of a leaping Trevor Crowe.
Notes:@ Minnesota RF Michael Cuddyer is making progress with his injured right index finger. Cuddyer did
some hitting and throwing before the game and hopes to take early batting practice Friday in Seattle. He
has been out since Sunday. … Cleveland 1B Chris Giminez got his first major league hit, a
seventh-inning home run. … Twins C Joe Mauer is following up on his torrid May. Mauer had three hits
Thursday and has hit in five straight games. He is 11 for 19 during that span, and is batting .492 at
home this season.