Willingham Homers, But Twins Fall 5-2
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins are getting nearly all of their runs via the long ball these days. And that’s a problem as they continue to go nowhere in the AL Central.
Josh Willingham homered for the Twins in the second inning of a 5-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night. It was Minnesota’s 23rd straight run from a home run – an MLB record. Unable to muster much else in the way of offense, the end result was a loss.
“We can’t rely on home runs all the time,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Twice the Twins got a man to third base with one out, and twice that man was on third when the inning ended.
“It’s nice when we hit them, but we’re going to have to drive in some of these runs with less than two outs and a man’s on third,” Gardenhire said. “Unfortunately we didn’t do it again tonight.”
And as good at the homer has been for the Twins, a Cleveland long ball burned them Tuesday.
The Indians led 3-1 in the sixth when Twins starter Samuel Deduno (7-6) hit Carlos Santana in the toe with a pitch. Plate umpire Adam Hamari initially ruled that Deduno’s pitch didn’t hit him, but awarded Santana first base after conferring with the rest of his crew and changing the call.
Ryan Rayburn then lined a home run into the left-center field bleachers.
“I lost a little bit of control,” said Deduno, who has not won at Target Field since June 27. “They attack pretty good too. I just wanted to make my pitches, but everything felt like it was throwing away.”
Zach McAllister won for the first time in almost three months for the Indians, who had lost seven of their last eight and posted a 6.00 ERA during that stretch.
Coming off his worst start of the season Thursday against Detroit, McAllister (5-7) bounced back and held Minnesota to one earned run and four hits in six innings. He struck out seven in his first win since May 23.
Minnesota cut it to 5-2 in the sixth when Joe Mauer scored from first base on a single by Justin Morneau that skipped under the glove of center fielder Michael Bourn for an error and rolled all the way to the warning track. It was the first time the Twins scored without a home run since Aug. 7.
But McAllister fanned Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia to end the inning and strand Mauer at third, getting several pats on the back from teammates as he walked back to the dugout.
After McAllister exited, Cody Allen and Joe Smith each pitched a perfect inning. Chris Perez allowed a two-out double to Arcia in the ninth, but retired Trevor Plouffe to end the game and record his 19th save in 22 chances.
For Deduno, it was his second straight outing in which he allowed four or more runs, and he fell to 3-2 in home decisions.
The Twins went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position and are 3 for 48 in those situations over their last six games.
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