Things just keep getting worse for the Minnesota Twins. Despite putting out a lineup on Sunday afternoon that featured only one Opening Day starter, the Twins had the lead over the Cleveland Indians late into Sunday's game. However, the Indians eventually got to Carl Pavano, and the bullpen didn't do the Twins any favors as Minnesota fell 6-5 to the Indians.
The loss was the eighth in a row for the Twins, who got swept for the third consecutive series. Minnesota has not registered a victory since defeating the Chicago White Sox back on September 7.
The Twins scored single runs on three separate occasions in the first six innings. They scored a run in the bottom of the second on Joe Benson's RBI groundout, in the bottom of the fourth when Cleveland catcher Lou Marson's attempt to throw Benson out stealing wound up in center field (allowing Luke Hughes to score), and in the bottom of the sixth on Brian Dinkelman's RBI single to right to give themselves a 3-0 lead.
The top of the seventh, however, would prove disastrous for Minnesota. Shelly Duncan led off the inning with a solo home run off of Twins' starter Carl Pavano to cut Minnesota's lead to 3-1. Lonnie Chisenhall then grounded one to Chris Parmelee wide of first base. Parmelee tried to throw the ball to Pavano covering first base, but threw wide, allowing Chisenhall to reach. Pavano then registered the next two outs, and looked to be on his way to getting out of the inning.
However, Marson then singled to center, and Pavano walked Kosuke Fukudome to load the bases. The Twins then lifted Pavano in favor of Jose Mijares. Mijares proceeded to walk Jason Kipnis, forcing in a run to make the score 3-2. Mijares was then lifted in favor of Alex Burnett. Burnett then proceeded to walk Carlos Santana, forcing another run home and tie the score at three.
Burnett was then lifted in favor of Glen Perkins. The first hitter Perkins faced was Jim Thome, who reached on a broken bat single that never got out of the infield, scoring another run and giving Cleveland a 4-3 lead. Then Duncan, who started the entire mess, doubled off of the left field wall to bring home two more runs and put Cleveland ahead 6-3.
Not to be outdone, Cleveland reliever Vinnie Pestano walked in two runs of his own in the bottom of the eighth, as he issued free passes to Danny Valencia and Ben Revere with the bases loaded to make the score 6-5, but the Twins would get no closer. Chris Perez came in for the Indians in the bottom of the ninth, and the Twins were sent to their eighth straight defeat.
The Twins have a bit of a schedule anomaly coming up, as they have to travel to Yankee Stadium tomorrow to take on the Yankees in a make-up game for the rain-out that occurred way back on April 6 before returning home for a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners. The starters for tomorrow's tilt in New York, which is scheduled to get underway at 12:05 PM Central time, will be A.J. Burnett (10-11, 5.20 ERA) for the Yankees and Scott Diamond (1-4, 3.94 ERA) for Minnesota.