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MIA@CLE: Lowe tosses six solid innings, gives up two

The last time Derek Lowe took the mound against the Twins, he stayed there for the duration of the game.

The 38-year-old Cleveland starter looked like a much younger version of himself as he tossed a complete-game shutout on May 15.

Lowe will look to have similar success when he faces Minnesota a second time in the series opener Friday at Progressive Field. He's coming off his worst start of the season last Saturday against the White Sox, when he gave up eight runs on 10 hits in only 2 1/3 innings.

"He's pitched the best out of our five guys so far," Indians manager Manny Acta said Wednesday. "It's nice to have him out there. Other than that outing the other day against the White Sox, he's been pretty solid. Hopefully he can turn it around for us."

The Indians have dropped five out of six since sweeping Detroit last week. They'll try to right the ship against Minnesota right-hander Carl Pavano, who was knocked around by the Tigers in his last start. Pavano gave up 10 hits and six runs in 4 1/3 innings, including four runs in the fifth inning. The Tigers didn't hit many balls hard in the inning, but Pavano didn't make any excuses afterward.

"That would be kind of an easy way to look at it that way, but that's not how I look at it," Pavano said. "There was a stretch in the middle where I made some good pitches and got some outs, but that inning, it's just a game of inches."

Indians: Hafner to miss four to six weeks
• The Indians placed designated hitter Travis Hafner on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a right knee injury. Hafner is scheduled to have an arthroscopic procedure on the knee Thursday at the Cleveland Clinic, which will sideline him for four to six weeks.

"Hitting is good, walking is good, I just can't run," Hafner said. "Running is really painful."

During Hafner's absence, the Indians plan to use a variety of players at DH. Johnny Damon was in the DH spot on Wednesday, and Shelley Duncan, Jose Lopez and Lonnie Chisenhall also figure to be DH options for Acta.

"You always feel like you have to pull your weight and step up," Damon said. "The tough thing about it is everything happened all at once. We lost [Asdrubal] Cabrera for a couple days, [Carlos] Santana's out, and who knows when he'll return.

"But the thing with Haf, playing the National League teams, right now is the best time for him to take care of his injuries, because he may only have one at-bat during those games."

The Indians play nine Interleague games in NL parks during the month of June.

• Catcher Lou Marson missed his third straight game Wednesday after being hit in the mouth by a pitch Sunday in Chicago. Marson received three stitches to seal up the gash, and he said it's still painful for him to wear the catcher's mask. Marson is scheduled to have a laser procedure to clean up the laceration and have the stitches removed on the team's off-day Thursday. He remains day to day.

Twins: Willingham breaks out of slump
• Left fielder Josh Willingham seems to be back on track after going through a 2-for-20 stretch last week. He has eight RBIs in his past four games, and a home run in each of his past two games.

Willingham hit a walk-off home run in the Twins' 3-2 win over the A's on Tuesday.

"It won't be the only tough stretch I go through," Willingham said. "It's just one of those things where you have to stay positive and just keep playing."

Willingham said his recent success at the plate isn't a result of changing anything mechanically.

"Sometimes you see the ball a little better," he said. "Sometimes you're right on time. Sometimes you're one tick off. When you're dealing with a round bat and a round ball, if you're one tick off, it's usually a popup or a swing and a miss or something."

• Shortstop Brian Dozier went 1-for-4 with an RBI Wednesday after going hitless in his previous 14 at-bats.

Worth noting
• Indians center fielder Michael Brantley extended his hitting streak to nine games with a single on Wednesday against the Royals.

• Scott Barnes didn't allow a hit and struck out one in his Major League debut out of the bullpen Wednesday for the Indians. He walked two and hit a batter in his one inning of work, but worked out of the bases-loaded jam.

• The Twins are coming off their first three-game sweep since they swept San Diego last June 17-19. Comments