CLEVELAND -- Samuel Deduno never lost control, but he never really established a flow.
Making his first start since season-ending shoulder surgery last September, Deduno turned in five innings as the Twins fell, 4-2, to the Indians on Tuesday at Progressive Field.
Cleveland did its damage early on, but Deduno strung together some solid innings and Logan Darnell threw three perfect innings of relief in his Major League debut, keeping the Twins close enough to bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning.
"We got ourselves in a little bit of a hole," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But again, at the end of the ballgame, we had a chance there to put a ball in the seats and tie the ballgame up. We had plenty of swings at it."
Deduno allowed runners in every inning, but he kept Cleveland off the scoreboard after the second inning.
Michael Brantley hit an RBI single off Deduno in the bottom of the first, coming home later that inning when a ball rolled between first baseman Chris Colabello's legs.
"We got a bad start for us," Gardenhire said. "We got a little behind there, Sammy kind of misfiring a little bit."
Yan Gomes' RBI double and a run-scoring single off Nick Swisher's bat in the second pushed the lead to 4-0, and Josh Tomlin had more than enough to make his 2014 debut stand up.
Deduno's shaky start to the game boiled over in the second, when he got called for a balk after dropping the ball. Catcher Kurt Suzuki went out to talk to Deduno, and he improved from there.
"In the first and second inning, I had to be more aggressive," Deduno said. "I could tell, like in the fourth inning, I was aggressive."
Deduno struggled with his mechanics a bit early in the game.
"It looked to me like early in the game he was overthrowing his breaking ball," Gardenhire said. "His curveball was kind of looking like a slider at times. Once he started kind of spotting the ball a little bit, not overthrowing, his curveball started breaking and he had a little more success."
Deduno gave the ball to Darnell, who impressed. Over the final three innings, Darnell set down all nine men who stepped into the box against him.
Much to Darnell's surprise, he did it with some heat.
"I came in the dugout after the first inning, and Colabello came up and said, 'Have you ever hit 95 [mph] in your life?'" Darnell said. "Either the gun's juiced or I had a little adrenaline."
Darnell got an out on his first pitch, and the lefty had only one scary moment.
Facing pinch-hitter Ryan Raburn in the bottom of the seventh, Darnell fell behind in the count 3-0. Raburn knew he was getting a pitch, and he got ahold of it.
"I thought he got it a lot better than he did," Darnell said.
Instead of giving up a homer in his debut, Darnell watched right fielder Chris Herrmann make the catch at the warning track.
Deduno pitched from behind all night, giving Tomlin some breathing room.
Called up on Tuesday from Triple-A to start, Tomlin brought a 20-inning scoreless streak into the game, which he pushed through until the seventh inning when Colabello slugged a solo home run into the left-field bleachers.
"That's huge," Tomlin said of getting an early lead. "You go out there and the first two innings you put up four runs, you can kind of go out there and kind of settle in and just throw strikes and let the defense work. That's what I tried to do."
Despite the slow start, Minnesota still made things interesting in the ninth inning.
Indians closer John Axford, who took the loss on Monday and blew a save Sunday night, was not available. That left Bryan Shaw to come in and try to close out the Twins.
Facing Shaw, Minnesota found new life when Asdrubal Cabrera couldn't handle a hard grounder off Suzuki's bat.
That brought Monday night's hero, Eduardo Escobar, to the plate. On Monday, Escobar hit a go-ahead solo home run in the 10th inning, and he stayed hot Tuesday, slugging a double to bring Suzuki home.
With Escobar standing on second, Gardenhire sent Josmil Pinto to hit for Herrmann.
Shaw held on to earn his first save of the season, getting Pinto to pop out to Cabrera.
Stephen Ellsesser is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.