After combining to score one run in 10 innings in the first game of the series Monday night, the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins are both hoping for better results on Tuesday.
It took 10 innings for the Indians to score the only run of the game in a victory that extended the Twins’ losing streak to 11 games. That’s the longest losing streak by the Twins since they lost 11 in a row in September of 2011.
The Twins had given up eight or more runs in six games in a row, a streak that was halted Monday when they held the Indians to one run. But a loss is a loss, and the losses are mounting at an alarming rate for the Twins, who haven’t won a game since a 10-3 victory over Kansas City on Aug. 17.
“When you’re trying to find a way out of something like this, you need to make your breaks or have things go your way,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “But that’s baseball. You never know from day to day if you’re going to be in a pitcher’s duel or a slugging contest.”
The Indians, meanwhile, continue to sputter offensively. Although they won Monday’s game, they have been held to one or zero runs in seven of their last eight games.
“We’re not putting up enough runs, but we’ve got to weather through this,” Cleveland skipper Terry Francona said.
Jason Kipnis drove in the lone run Monday with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th.
“As an offense, we know we have to do better than what we’re doing,” Jason Kipnis said. “But if we’ve got to win 1-0, then let’s win 1-0.”
Josh Tomlin (11-8, 4.70) will start for Cleveland on Tuesday. Tomlin’s status in the rotation could be riding on his performance Tuesday. In his last five starts, Tomlin is 0-5 with a 10.80 ERA and nine home runs allowed in 25 innings.
Tomlin leads the majors in home runs allowed with 34, and seems certain to break the Indians’ franchise record for most homers allowed in a season. The record of 37 was set by Luis Tiant in 1969.
The schedule hasn’t done Tomlin any favors, however. His last four starts have been against the Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers, all teams that are likely headed for postseason appearances.
In 13 career appearances against the Twins, Tomlin is 4-4 with a 5.26 ERA. In three starts versus the Twins this year, Tomlin is 2-0 with a 3.72 ERA.
Joe Mauer is 7-for-20 (.350) with three RBIs and two walks lifetime against Tomlin, while Brian Dozier is 5-for-23 (.217) against him.
Twins starter Andrew Albers (0-0, 4.32) will be making his third appearance, but first start for the Twins this season. In 21 starts at Triple-A Rochester, he was 10-6 with a 3.69 ERA.
Kipnis is 2-for-7 with a double against Albers.
Albers does have one memorable appearance against Cleveland. On Aug. 12, 2013, he tossed a two-hit shutout in his second major league start, a 3-0 win over Cleveland at Target Field.