MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – The Minnesota Twins are getting nearly all of their runs via the long ball these days. And that’s a problem as they continue to go nowhere in the AL Central.
Josh Willingham homered for the Twins in the second inning of a 5-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night. It was Minnesota’s 23rd straight run from a home run – an MLB record. Unable to muster much else in the way of offense, the end result was a loss.
“We can’t rely on home runs all the time,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Twice the Twins got a man to third base with one out, and twice that man was on third when the inning ended.
“It’s nice when we hit them, but we’re going to have to drive in some of these runs with less than two outs and a man’s on third,” Gardenhire said. “Unfortunately we didn’t do it again tonight.”
And as good at the homer has been for the Twins, a Cleveland long ball burned them Tuesday.
The Indians led 3-1 in the sixth when Twins starter Samuel Deduno (7-6) hit Carlos Santana in the toe with a pitch. Plate umpire Adam Hamari initially ruled that Deduno’s pitch didn’t hit him, but awarded Santana first base after conferring with the rest of his crew and changing the call.
Ryan Rayburn then lined a home run into the left-center field bleachers.
“I lost a little bit of control,” said Deduno, who has not won at Target Field since June 27. “They attack pretty good too. I just wanted to make my pitches, but everything felt like it was throwing away.”
Zach McAllister won for the first time in almost three months for the Indians, who had lost seven of their last eight and posted a 6.00 ERA during that stretch.
Coming off his worst start of the season Thursday against Detroit, McAllister (5-7) bounced back and held Minnesota to one earned run and four hits in six innings. He struck out seven in his first win since May 23.
“Offensively we didn’t do too awful much,” Gardenhire said. “Their guy kept painting the outside corner against our righties. Nice little changeup, nice little breaking ball. He basically stopped us.”
Minnesota cut it to 5-2 in the sixth when Joe Mauer scored from first base on a single by Justin Morneau that skipped under the glove of center fielder Michael Bourn for an error and rolled all the way to the warning track. It was the first time the Twins scored without a home run since Aug. 7.
But McAllister fanned Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia to end the inning and strand Mauer at third, getting several pats on the back from teammates as he walked back to the dugout.
After McAllister exited, Cody Allen and Joe Smith each pitched a perfect inning. Chris Perez allowed a two-out double to Arcia in the ninth, but retired Trevor Plouffe to end the game and record his 19th save in 22 chances.
For Deduno, it was his second straight outing in which he allowed four or more runs, and he fell to 3-2 in home decisions.
“He was misfiring a little bit. You could see his ball was moving all over the place and counts were going up,” Gardenhire said. “He got some ground balls, but the one pitch to Rayburn, I know that was a hanging breaking ball. I looked like he was trying to go away with the breaking ball, but he hung it and the guy hit it in the seats. That was the big at-bat of the game, those two runs they got.”
The Twins went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position and are 3 for 48 in those situations over their last six games.
NOTES: The Indians signed former Blue Jays’ No. 1 pick David Cooper to a minor league deal and sent him to their spring training complex in Goodyear, Ariz. The 26-year-old first-baseman is expected to join Triple-A Columbus later this month. … Minnesota acquired LHP Miguel Sulbaran from the Dodgers to complete the trade for C Drew Butera. The 19-year-old was 6-4 with a 3.01 ERA in 23 games for the Dodgers’ low Class-A team. Minnesota GM Terry Ryan expects Sulbaran to be a starter in the Twins’ system. … Twins rookie Kyle Gibson (2-3, 6.43 ERA) will try to pitch more than six innings for the first time in his career in Wednesday’s series finale. … Carlos Carrasco (0-4, 7.75 ERA) starts for Cleveland and will try to win for the first time since beating Arizona on June 29, 2011. Carrasco has lost his last 10 decisions.
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