Indians defeat Twins to forge tie atop AL Central

Shane Bieber pitched into the eighth inning, Jose Ramirez had three hits and the visiting Cleveland Indians pulled into a tie for the lead in the AL Central with a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.

Cleveland trailed Minnesota by 11 ½ games on June 3 before putting together a 41-16 run, the best record in the majors since June 4. The Twins are 30-28 in that stretch, and their division lead finally slipped away with their first four-game losing streak of the season.

“It’s not an ideal start to the series,” Twins first baseman C.J. Cron said. “But at the same time, there’s a lot of baseball left, and we’re excited to get back out there tomorrow.”

All-Star MVP Bieber (12-4) allowed two home runs but struck out 11 batters in seven innings. The right-hander owns a 1.69 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 32 innings over his past four starts, pitching at least seven innings in each outing.

“We were all super excited coming into this series, and I think you’ve seen that the first few games,” Bieber said. “It’s just an incredible group to be able to do this … being back tied at the top is a huge deal for us, and really for everybody. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of right now.”

Jason Castro and Eddie Rosario homered for Minnesota, which broke its franchise record for home runs in a season with its majors-leading total of 226.

The powerful offense hasn’t been able to overcome the Twins’ starting pitching recently. In losing the past four games, Minnesota starters have surrendered 28 runs before the offense scored.

Astros 3, Orioles 2: Wade Miley pitched impressively against his former team and Jose Altuve hit a pivotal RBI triple in the seventh inning, leading visiting Houston to its seventh straight win..

Blue Jays 8, Yankees 2: Teoscar Hernandez homered twice, Danny Jansen hit a three-run drive and Randal Grichuk added a two-run shot as host Toronto connected three times off homer-prone lefty J.A. Happ. Blue Jays rookie Bo Bichette went hitless for the first time in his 12-game career, ending a major-league record streak with at least one double in nine consecutive games.

Braves 8, Marlins 4: In Miami, Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a pair of two-run homers for NL East-leading Atlanta.

Reds 5, Cubs 2: Trevor Bauer fanned 11 batters in his Cincinnati home debut, and Aristides Aquino homered again as Yasiel Puig’s replacement.

Tigers 5, Royals 2: Edwin Jackson pitched neatly into the seventh inning in his return to Detroit, which won a second straight game for the first time since May.

Red Sox 16, Angels 4: J.D. Martinez homered twice and just missed hitting a third out of Fenway Park to power Boston’s rout. Albert Pujols hit a three-run homer in the first for Los Angeles, which has lost eight straight.

Brewers 6, Rangers 5: Eric Thames hit a game-ending homer to lift host Milwaukee after Josh Hader blew a save opportunity for the fourth time this season.

Cardinals 6, Pirates 2: Paul Goldschmidt hit a tie-breaking single in the eighth inning and Marcell Ozuna followed with a two-run homer, lifting host St. Louis.

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