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May struggles as Minnesota Twins lose 7-3 to contending Cleveland Indians

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MINNEAPOLIS — While the Minnesota Twins are trying to build for the future, one of their young arms took a step backward on Saturday night.

Trevor May was chased in the fifth inning and the Twins went on to a 7-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians at a rainy Target Field.

May's rocky start helped Cleveland inch closer in the AL wild-card race. The Indians are 3 1/2 back in the race for the second wild card after Oakland, Kansas City and Seattle all lost ahead of them earlier in the day.

Cleveland had a 4-2 lead before Yan Gomes connected for a three-run homer against May in the fifth.

"(May) was fighting and still had a chance to get out of it," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "The three-run homer to Gomes pretty much put a nail in the coffin. If he makes a pitch there and gets through that inning, who knows. But that was the big one that ended his night."

May allowed eight hits and walked two. The right-hander, who turns 25 on Tuesday, had won each of his previous three starts.

The start of the game was delayed for more than an hour because of rain.

"The biggest thing was putting guys away," May said. "I think all the runs scored were with two outs. Three instances I can think of where I was one pitch away from getting out of an inning unscathed and I think I was 0 for 3 in those instances."

All seven of Cleveland's runs came with two outs. Mike Aviles had a two-run triple, and Michael Bourn and Gomes added RBI singles.

"It wasn't a step in the right direction," Gardenhire said.

PHOTO: A rainbow signals the end of a rain delay as grounds crew members remove the tarp before the Minnesota Twins against the Cleveland Indians baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
A rainbow signals the end of a rain delay as grounds crew members remove the tarp before the Minnesota Twins against the Cleveland Indians baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

The Twins called up May, one of their top pitching prospects, last month and he struggled with a 10.42 ERA in his five August starts.

May steadily improved in September, winning all three of his starts and dropping to a 7.71 ERA before struggling in Saturday night's loss. He now has an 8.39 ERA, the worst such number in the Twins' starting rotation.

"I've had eight starts now," May said. "It's about taking care of your job and keeping guys in the game. If I get through that fifth inning and keep it at a 4-2 ballgame, it's completely different going into later innings because the bullpen took care of it out there."

Cleveland's T.J. House (4-3) was removed after Joe Mauer and Kennys Vargas singled to start the sixth. Zach McAllister came in and struck out the side.

The Indians turned to the bullpen three times to get the final six outs, capped by Marc Rzepczynski's first save of the season. Rzepczynski struck out three straight batters before Danny Santana grounded out to end the game.

Brian Dozier had three hits for Minnesota, including his 21st homer in the eighth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Indians: 2B Jason Kipnis remains day to day with a hamstring injury. He hasn't played since Thursday.

Twins: All-Star closer Glen Perkins, shut down for the season on Friday with a left forearm strain and secondary nerve irritation, said he's pitched through discomfort the last month. The injury lowered his velocity and limited use of his slider. He will rest for a couple weeks, and then meet with the Twins' training staff in early October to develop a strengthening and maintenance program. ... CF Aaron Hicks was scratched with back stiffness.

UP NEXT

Corey Kluber (16-9, 2.54 ERA) starts for Cleveland on Sunday against Anthony Swarzak (3-1, 4.42 ERA). Kluber struck out a career-high 14 in his last start against Houston, the first Indians pitcher to fan at least 14 since Bartolo Colon on May 29, 1998. Swarzak will be making this third start of the season and 30th of his career. As a starter, the right-hander is 7-17 with a 5.85 ERA.

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