The Minnesota Twins came up just short on Friday night at Target Field, as their late rally wasn't enough to prevent a 7-6 loss to the Cleveland Indians. The loss was the sixth in a row for Minnesota, and marked their 90th loss of the 2011 season.
Cleveland got off to a fast start in this one against Twins' starter Kevin Slowey, building a 5-0 lead after the first four innings and sending the Twins' right-hander to the showers. However, the Twins kept chipping away at the lead, as a two-run error on Indians' outfielder Grady Sizemore helped them cut the lead to 5-2. Cleveland added a run in the top of the sixth on a single by Lonnie Chisenhall, making the score 6-2, but the Twins added two more in the bottom of the seventh on a single by Ben Revere and a sacrifice fly by Trevor Plouffe to make the score 6-4.
The score stayed that way until the top of the ninth, when Jim Thome stepped to the plate. Thome, who had been dealt to the Indians by the Twins a few weeks ago, received a standing ovation before his first at-bat of the evening, and gave his fans something to remember in his last at-bat. Facing Twins' reliever Joe Nathan, he blasted a solo home run into the right field seats to increase Cleveland's lead to 7-4.
That run turned out to be huge for the Indians, as the Twins put together another rally in the bottom of the ninth, with an RBI groundout by Revere and a single by Plouffe cutting the deficit to 7-6. However, Indians' closer Chris Perez struck out Rene Tosoni to end the game and send the Twins to defeat.
Ubaldo Jiminez was given credit for the victory for the Indians, while Kevin Slowey became the first Twins' pitcher in 18 seasons to lose six consecutive starts, falling to 0-6 since his return to the Twins.
The Twins and Indians will continue their series on Saturday afternoon at Target Field, with first pitch scheduled for 12:10 PM Central time. The pitching match-up will see Indians' right-hander Jeanmar Gomez (3-2, 3.95 ERA) battling it out against Twins' right-hander Anthony Swarzak (3-6, 3.89 ERA).