MINNEAPOLIS — Carlos Santana enjoys hitting at Target Field — or at least that is what the stats indicate.
The Cleveland Indians first baseman hit the 13th and 14th home runs of his career at the Twins’ ballpark on Tuesday, which ties him for the most all-time for visiting players. He matched Jose Bautista in that category, and he has two more games in the current series to try to attain the title for himself.
Yet Santana insists there is nothing about Target Field that has led to his success at the plate when he visits Minnesota.
“I try to concentrate on good contact, and that happens,” Santana said after Cleveland’s 8-1 win over the Twins on Tuesday. “It doesn’t matter if it’s here or another park. Right now, I’m feeling comfortable. … I feel great here.”
Santana wasn’t the only Indians batter to enjoy his night at the plate Tuesday. Cleveland clubbed five homers as it won its fifth straight game. The Indians’ lineup has continued to roll as of late and looks to do so again Wednesday with the chance to push Minnesota even further down in the American League Central standings.
The Twins (59-58) and the Kansas City Royals (60-59) are tied for second, six games behind the Indians (65-52).
Minnesota right-hander Kyle Gibson will be tasked with slowing down the red-hot Cleveland lineup. Gibson (6-9, 6.02 ERA) hasn’t pitched deep into games lately. He has gone more than six innings just once in his past five starts.
Now Gibson faces a team he hasn’t had much luck against throughout his career. In 12 starts vs. Cleveland, he is 2-5 with a 5.75 ERA. This season, he is 0-2 with a 3.94 ERA in three starts against the Indians.
Gibson has another factor working against him Wednesday. The Twins have yet to beat the Indians at Target Field this year in eight attempts. Cleveland has dominated Minnesota in Minneapolis but is just 1-5 at home against the Twins.
“It doesn’t really make sense, but there’s a lot of things in our game that you spin your head around trying to figure out,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Obviously, I’m well aware that they’ve come in here and dominated us in our own park. We’ve got a couple more chances to get in the win column against them here before we go there and play them there in September.”
Trying to make it a perfect 9-0 for Cleveland at Target Field will be Carlos Carrasco, who takes the mound Wednesday. Carrasco (11-5, 3.83 ERA) has already pitched in Minneapolis once this season, earning a win back on June 16 when he gave up just one run and four hits in 6 1/3 innings. He is 3-6 with a 4.43 ERA in 15 career games (12 starts) against the Twins.
Carrasco got plenty of run support in his previous outing at Target Field as Cleveland won that game 8-1 — the same final as Tuesday’s victory. The Indians’ lineup hopes to keep riding the wave as the series continues.
“It’s one of those things that’s contagious,” said Austin Jackson, who hit one of Cleveland’s five homers on Tuesday. “When you see those guys swinging the bats, doing their job in the middle of the order, it definitely takes a lot of pressure off the rest of us.”
Copyright © 2017
TTWN Media Networks Inc.