CLEVELAND -- After a difficult April, the Cleveland Indians are starting to play a bit better.

Asdrubal Cabrera had four hits and three RBIs, Michael Brantley also homered and the Indians beat the injury-riddled Minnesota Twins 9-4 Thursday for their first three-game winning streak this season.

Cleveland went 5-2 on a homestand that followed an 0-6 trip to San Francisco and the Los Angeles Angels.'

Cabrera, who entered hitting .215, had a solo homer in the second inning and RBI doubles in the seventh and eighth. He also singled in the fifth.

Cabrera declined to talk with reporters after the game. Manager Terry Francona thought he should have been credited with a triple in his final at-bat, which would have given him a cycle.

Brantley hit a two-run homer in the fifth and had an RBI grounder in the sixth. He also doubled and scored in the first, then singled in the third.

Justin Masterson (2-1) allowed four runs -- two earned -- four hits and four walks in 6 1/3 innings. Kevin Corriea (1-4) gave up four runs, eight hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings for the Twins.

Minnesota played its fourth straight game without first baseman Joe Mauer, who could be headed to the disabled list because of back spasms. Outfielder Sam Fuld was placed on the seven-day DL with concussion-like symptoms, leaving infielder Pedro Florimon as Minnesota's only bench player when the game began.

"We're looking for nine right now, nine people that can play," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Shortstop Eduardo Escobar was forced to play the outfield for the second straight day and struggled again.

He misjudged a fly ball in left field in the ninth inning Wednesday night that led to Cleveland scoring the winning run.

Brantley doubled with two outs in the first Thursday, advanced on ball four to Carlos Santana and David Murphy hit a line drive directly at Escobar.

Escobar froze, then broke back too late to make the catch as the ball landed on the warning track. Brantley scored, but Santana was out on a relay throw to the plate.

Escobar dropped Lonnie Chisenhall's sinking line drive in the seventh, but avoided an error by throwing to second to force Ryan Raburn, who had held up to see whether the ball would be caught.

Cabrera led off the second with a home run. Brantley's homer scored Nick Swisher, who started the fifth with a walk.

 

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