CLEVELAND (AP) – Emergency starter Tommy Milone replaced an ill Phil Hughes and pitched the Minnesota Twins past the Cleveland Indians 4-2 on Monday night in a game crucial to the wild-card chances of both clubs.
Hughes, one of several Twins players hit with a virus that has spread throughout the team, was scratched from his scheduled start about 4 hours before the game. Milone (9-5), removed from the rotation two weeks ago, stepped in an allowed two runs in 5 2-3 innings.
Minnesota (81-75) began the day trailing Houston by 1 1/2 games in the race for the second AL wild card. The Astros played later in Seattle.
The Twins entered a half-game game behind the Los Angeles Angels, who hosted Oakland in a late game.
Cleveland (77-78) was four games behind the Astros before its costly defeat.
Milone took control after giving up a solo homer to Francisco Lindor in the first inning, retiring 10 in a row during one stretch.
Trevor Plouffe, who missed Sunday’s game because of the virus, hit a two-run homer in the first off Corey Kluber (8-16).
Kevin Jepsen worked the ninth for his 14th save.
Milone was sent to the bullpen following two rocky outings in which he allowed 12 runs over five innings. The left-hander is 3-1 with a 2.16 ERA in six career starts against Cleveland.
Kluber, last season’s AL Cy Young Award winner, allowed four runs in six innings and lost to Minnesota for the second time in a week. The right-hander, who missed two weeks with a hamstring injury this month, hasn’t won since Aug. 14.
Kluber retired the first two hitters before allowing three straight extra-base hits, all to left-center field. Joe Mauer doubled and scored on Miguel Sano’s double. Plouffe drove a 1-1 pitch into the bleachers.
Plouffe’s home run broke an 0-for-12 slump. Brian Dozier added a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Lindor’s 11th homer since being called up from the minors on June 12 cut the deficit to 3-1. He added a sacrifice fly in the sixth that scored Jason Kipnis, who tripled.
Indians: OF Michael Brantley started for the second straight game after missing four with a bruised right shoulder.
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 last Thursday.
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