The Minnesota Twins can get back to where they started in the American League Central standings with a win over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday afternoon at Target Field. Minnesota began the series five games behind the Tribe in the division race, but losing two out of the first three has seen them drop to six games out.
Minnesota got a dramatic victory on Tuesday night, despite getting dominated for 7.2 innings by Cleveland starter Justin Masterson. Masterson allowed just four hits, but eventually had to give way to the Cleveland bullpen, and the Twins managed to load the bases against closer Chris Perez in the bottom of the ninth. Danny Valencia blooped a single into left field to score Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer, and the Twins snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a 2-1 win.
To try to salvage a split on Wednesday, the team will hand the ball to right-hander Nick Blackburn (7-6, 3.99 ERA). Blackburn has not faced the Indians yet this season. In his last start, Blackburn pitched extremely well, shutting out the Kansas City Royals for seven innings while allowing only four hits, but the bullpen coughed it up and left Blackburn with a no-decision in a 2-1 Minnesota loss last Friday.
The Tribe will turn to their own right-hander, Josh Tomlin (11-4, 4.03 ERA) to try to take their third of this four-game series. Tomlin has faced Minnesota once this season, back in Cleveland on June 6. The Twins got to Tomlin in that one, picking up six runs on nine hits over six innings, defeating the Indians by a score of 6-4. In his last start on Friday, Tomlin allowed five runs on six hits. . .three of which went over the fence. . .in just five innings of work, but still got credit for the victory as Cleveland defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 6-5.
First pitch for this one is scheduled for 12:10 PM Central time at Target Field. As usual, be sure to check out the Twinkie Town Game Thread for the in-game discussion, and head back here for your recap when the game is complete.