MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The AL Central leaders finally met this week. Consider the Minnesota Twins impressed by the Cleveland Indians.
"We've seen them on TV, but there's nothing like playing them in person," Twins outfielder Torii Hunter said. "Now we're ready for it, and hopefully we'll do better next time."
Marty Cordova hit a tiebreaking two-run triple in the sixth inning to help the Indians beat the Twins 6-2 and win the four-game set against his old team. Cleveland, winners of seven of nine, moved a season-high 1 1/2 games ahead of Minnesota.
"No doubt, we were watching them," Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel said. "We know we have to play well to beat these guys."
Though he wouldn't admit it, Cordova might have been trying too hard to impress his old team. Either way, his efforts were rewarded in the sixth against Brad Radke (7-2).
Cordova was 1-for-11 in the series until his two-out, two-strike triple drove in Ellis Burks and Travis Fryman to make it 4-2.
Cordova, hitting .348 with nine homers and 34 RBIs, didn't think so.
"Who am I trying to impress?" he said. "You can say whatever you want. It makes no difference to me who we were playing."
Cordova is 3-for-26 (.088) against the Twins in his career, including last season with Toronto. Twins right fielder Matt Lawton, one of Cordova's best friends, thought his buddy was pressing.
"You could see it," Lawton said. "I think Marty took it to heart when the people booed him."
Bartolo Colon (5-6) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings, striking out a season-high eight for the Indians. Colon had been winless in five starts since beating Tampa Bay on May 4.
"That was a big game for Bartolo," Cleveland manager Charlie Manuel said. "He hadn't won in a long time."
Colon, who lasted only five innings last Saturday against New York, had been bothered by a sore right elbow, and had an MRI on Monday as a precaution. But his fastball was consistently in the mid- to upper-90s. With two on in the third, Colon struck out Doug Mientkiewicz with a 99 mph pitch to end the inning.
"You get this guy throwing 99 miles per hour," Hunter said. "How the heck do you throw a ball 99 miles an hour? And do it all game?"
Colon said he felt fine.
"I'm not afraid to throw hard," he said using bullpen coach Luis Isaac as an interpreter. "It's a nice feeling to win a game."
Steve Karsay and Bob Wickman finished for Cleveland. During the Indians' last three wins, their relievers have faced 29 batters and yielded only four singles and a walk while striking out nine.
Radke gave up six runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings. He is 5-13 against the Indians and hasn't beaten them in eight starts since 1998. Radke failed in his fourth attempt at victory No. 8.
"I felt really good," he said. "They hit some good pitches. There's nothing I can do about that."
Roberto Alomar, who had three hits, drove in a run with a triple in the seventh and scored on a wild throw by second baseman Luis Rivas, the cutoff man.
Radke led 2-0 in the sixth when the Indians loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Fryman's smash up the middle glanced off the pitcher's left foot and soared over Rivas at second to tie it.
"It's only June," Radke said. "We've got a long way to go."
Notes: Minnesota has lost three in a row for only the second time this year. ... After issuing only five walks in his first 11 starts, Radke has allowed five in his past two. ... Quinton McCracken led off the first with a triple and scored on a groundout by Cristian Guzman. Lawton hit a run-scoring infield single in the third. ... Before this series, Cleveland was alone in first for just two days, May 25-26. Otherwise, the Twins have been at least tied at the top the entire season.
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