CLEVELAND -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has been preaching all season that little mistakes can add up and cost the team a ballgame.
Well, it was the case again Tuesday night against the Indians, as Delmon Young misplayed a ball in left field, allowing Carlos Santana to advance to third base on a leadoff double in the fourth and score on an RBI groundout from Shelley Duncan.
That one run proved to be the difference with Carlos Carrasco dominating the Twins over 8 1/3 scoreless innings, as Minnesota lost, 1-0, to the first-place Indians to see their season-high win streak end at five games.
"You don't win many games with three hits," Gardenhire said. "It was a good win on their side. It was a good ballgame that could've went either way, but they got the run."
So while Young's error that led to that one run proved to be pivotal, the loss certainly wasn't his fault, as it was the offense that was really the culprit, with only four runners reaching base.
Young actually did his part with one out in the fifth inning, as he gave the Twins their first baserunner of the game with a double over the head of Grady Sizemore in center field. Luke Hughes then reached on an infield single despite a diving stop from shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera that prevented Young from scoring.
It proved to be an important defensive play, as Brian Dinkelman popped out and Rene Rivera struck out to end the frame and the Twins' biggest scoring threat of the night.
"We had probably one good opportunity with Dinkelman up, and he got a pitch to hit but just didn't get it to the outfield," Gardenhire said.
The offense's struggles spoiled a solid outing from left-hander Francisco Liriano, who tossed five strong innings in his return from the disabled list.
Liriano, who was activated from the disabled list Monday night after battling inflammation in his throwing shoulder, allowed just one unearned run on three hits. He walked three and struck out seven, throwing 81 pitches, 47 for strikes.
"I thought I was making pretty good pitches when I needed to," said Liriano, who was targeted to throw around 80 pitches. "I felt pretty good. I didn't feel tired at all. I felt normal."
But it was Carrasco who was the star on the mound, as the young right-hander went a career-high 8 1/3 innings and mixed his pitches to keep the Twins off-balance.
"The ball was moving all over the place," Michael Cuddyer said. "He kept the ball down and didn't make too many mistakes in the zone. He kept his velocity up the whole game at 93-94 mph until the last pitch -- with movement."
Indians manager Manny Acta was impressed by Carrasco's performance, especially considering the Twins had scored at least five runs in nine of their last 11 games.
"The key today was that he was able to dominate the lefties," Acta said. "They were 1-for-15 off of him and they are hitting over .300 against them this season. He did a tremendous job."
Minnesota had a chance to rally against Carrasco in the seventh with Justin Morneau drawing a one-out walk, but Cabrera made another impressive defensive play at shortstop, robbing Young of a hit on a hard grounder and using his glove to flip the ball to Orlando Cabrera at second base to start an inning-ending double play.
"He pretty much dominated us out here in the middle of the infield," Gardenhire said. "He's pretty good. We kept saying, 'Dumb hitting. Don't hit it to that guy.' But he made some super, super plays."
The Twins had one final chance to rally in the ninth against Carrasco, when Ben Revere extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a one-out single that knocked Carrasco out of the game in favor of closer Chris Perez.
Alexi Casilla then weakly grounded out to advance Revere to second base before Cuddyer struck out looking on a pitch he thought was outside.
"I just didn't think that pitch was a strike," said Cuddyer, who voiced his displeasure with home-plate umpire Adrian Johnson. "At all."
With the loss, Minnesota saw the Indians snap a five-game losing streak and extend their lead over the Twins to 12 1/2 games in the American League Central.
"Obviously, the Twins haven't been playing as good as they want to be, so we need to take advantage of that," Perez said. "These are the type of games we need to win."