David Huff went 2-11 with a 6.21 ERA last year for the Cleveland Indians. He had spent the entire 2011 season in AAA until being called up to start for the Indians on Monday afternoon. On paper, it looked like the Twins were poised for a big day at the plate.
Huff shut out the Twins for seven innings in his 2011 MLB debut, allowing only five hits while striking out five. Minnesota was able to put runners in scoring position three innings in a row on Huff, but they couldn't take advantage of the opportunities, going 0-for-5 in those situations.
Twins starter Anthony Swarzak pitched well for the most part, but fell victim to the dreaded big inning in the third. After a throwing error by Alexi Casilla started the inning, the Indians rattled off three straight hits, capped off by a three-run bomb from Asdrubal Cabrera. Swarzak retired the next seven batters after that, but the damage was done as Cleveland carried a 4-0 lead all the way into the ninth.
Matt Capps came on in a non-save situation, and he again proved why Joe Nathan is Minnesota's closer for the foreseeable future. Capps allowed an Austin Kearns home run just two pitches into his latest performance to make it 5-0.
There were a couple bright spots for Minnesota in the matinee game aside from the sweltering sun and triple-digit heat index. Joe Mauer played first base again, and the results were again positive. Mauer had three of the seven Twins hits at the plate and made a couple of diving stops on the field to rob potential hits. After an abysmal start to 2011 riddled with injuries, Mauer's batting average sits at a respectable .276. Michael Cuddyer finally put the Twins on the board in the bottom of the 9th with a two-run homer, his 14th of the year.
The Twins will look for a split of the doubleheader later this evening at (a hopefully slightly cooler) Target Field. At this very moment, Cleveland is back atop the AL Central and has a 6 game lead over the Twins. By the end of the evening, that number will be 5 or 7.