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Twins Face Must-Win Game Against Indians

The Minnesota Twins had an opportunity to close to within three games of the American League Central leading Cleveland Indians on Monday, but instead got swept in a doubleheader by the tribe to drop to seven games back in the standings. Tonight at Target Field, the two teams face off in the third of a four-game set, with the Twins facing a virtual must-win situation. A loss would put the Twins eight games behind Cleveland, and significantly curb the momentum that the team had coming into this series.

In the first game, Indians' left-hander David Huff. . .who went 2-11 with a 6.21 ERA in 15 starts in 2010. . .shut the Twins out for seven innings in a 5-2 Cleveland victory. The Twins followed that up with Scott Diamond getting his first Major League start and, while Diamond performed admirably, Minnesota couldn't generate enough offense to get a victory as they dropped the nightcap, 6-3.

In order to stop their slide, the Twins will turn to left-hander Francisco Liriano (6-7, 4.76 ERA). Liriano has one start against the Indians under his belt this year, going five innings and allowing just one run on three hits, but it wasn't enough as the Twins fell to Cleveland 1-0 in Cleveland on June 7. He looked good in his last start on Thursday against the Kansas City Royals, scattering seven hits over seven innings in an 8-4 Minnesota win.

The Indians will go with right-hander Justin Masterson (8-6, 2.80 ERA). Masterson has one start against the Twins this year, and he pitched well, allowing two runs on nine hits over eight innings of work, but ultimately wound up with a no-decision as the Twins defeated the Indians on June 8, 3-2. In Masterson's last start, he picked up a victory after allowing four runs on eight hits in six innings of work as the Indians defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 8-4.

First pitch at Target Field is scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time, and the Game Thread over at Twinkie Town is already up and running for your in-game pleasure. Be sure to stop in and enjoy the game with your fellow Twins fans, and head back here for the recap when the game is complete.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.