The Cleveland Indians will try to continue their success over their divisional rivals, the Minnesota Twins, as the ballclubs meet for the second portion of a three-game set at Progressive Field.
Cleveland won for the 11th time in its last 12 tries versus the Twins courtesy of a strong showing from its veteran starter Derek Lowe (7-3). The 39-year old pitcher gave up only one run in 6 2/3 innings and Nick Hagadone and Jeremy Accardo finished the job in a 7-1 victory.
"There was no panic," Lowe said. "In years past, I would have probably tried to look back too much at the last game. You just understand that, don't try and watch video to figure it out. Just admit that you did bad."
Lowe's strong outing addressed the team's major concern, as it had a team ERA of 9.00 in its previous six games. Right-hander Josh Tomlin will look to build on Lowe's success tonight. Tomlin picked up a win his last time out despite giving up four runs and walking two Kansas City batters in five innings.
Tomlin went 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three starts versus the Twins in 2011.
Tomlin will hope to get the same type of run support his teammate received on Friday. Second baseman Jason Kipnis hit a grand slam in the fourth inning and Lonnie Chisenhall went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer. Johnny Damon, Shin-Soo Choo, and Jose Lopez all had multi-hit games for the Tribe.
"The young kids really stepped up today," said Cleveland manager Manny Acta. "Kipnis had a huge day, so did Lonnie."
The Indians enter Saturday 1 1/2 games behind the streaking White Sox -- who have won nine straight -- in the American League Central Division. Cleveland has won just twice in its last seven outings.
Minnesota is last in the five-team loop and trails Chicago by 11 1/2 games.
The Twins will send out P.J. Walters tonight to oppose Tomlin. Walters has been a pleasant surprise to the rotation since making his debut on May 12. He carries a 2.96 ERA into this one after giving up two runs in six innings to the Tigers on Sunday. Despite being considered a bright spot in the lineup, Walters is aiming to get even better.
"It was one of those days where I was a little erratic," Walters said after his last start. "I was close to 50-50 on balls and strikes today. I was kind of all over the place today."
Minnesota's offense will need to bounce back from its one-run display on Friday.
"We hit a number of line drives right at people," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "If those balls go through he's (Lowe) up the creek."
Justin Morneau's struggles continued. His 0-for-4 performance in the series opener dropped his batting average to .227. Ryan Doumit provided some offense by going 3-for-4 and Brian Dozier drove in the Twins' only run.
The Twins came into Friday on a three-game winning streak after sweeping the Athletics. Prior to its success versus Oakland, Minnesota lost five straight games.