Indians try to halt slide in finale with Twins

Justin Masterson will get his shot to halt the Cleveland Indians' ugly 11-game losing streak on Wednesday when the Tribe try to salvage the finale of a three-game set with the Minnesota Twins and avoid matching the franchise record for futility.

The Indians, who have been outscored 95-36 during the skid, are one loss away from tying the franchise record for consecutive defeats, set from May 7-21, 1931.

After experiencing the worst road trip in their 112-year history as a franchise, the Tribe returned home Monday and did anything but stem the tide, dropping two in a row to the Twins including Tuesday's 7-5 setback.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka drove in the go-ahead run during a three-run ninth inning in that one as the Twins sent the Indians to yet another setback.

One outing removed from blowing a three-run, ninth-inning lead in Detroit on Sunday, Chris Perez (0-4) coughed it up again as the Tribe tied their longest losing streak since dropping 11 straight from September 13-24, 2009.

"These are unacceptable performances, and they're coming at the worst time for us," Perez said. "We just have to fight through it, it's the only thing you can do."

Josh Willingham got the rally started with a one-out single and pinch-runner Darin Mastroianni swiped second before scoring the tying run on a grounder to first by Justin Morneau that kicked off the first base bag and into short right field.

Ryan Doumit then ripped a ball into the right-center field gap for a double and Morneau trotted home with the go-ahead score on a sacrifice fly. Brian Dozier followed with a single to bring home Doumit.

"We had a couple things go our way there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of the ninth inning. "We got a bad hop off the bag and guys had some quality at-bats there.

Tyler Robertson (1-0) earned his first major league win with two scoreless innings and Glen Perkins nailed down his fourth save of the year with a perfect ninth inning for the Twins, who have won five of their last six games.

Doumit finished with three hits and Ben Revere went 1-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 21 games for the Twins.

Shelley Duncan crushed a two- run homer, Carlos Santana had an RBI double and Asdrubal Cabrera added a run- scoring single for the Indians.

Masterson has struggled mightily recently, allowing a career-high 10 runs in 5 2/3 innings during a 12-5 loss at Minnesota on July 28 and following that with a disastrous performance, giving up 10 hits and seven runs over four innings in a 10-2 setback at Detroit last Friday. The big righty is also just 1-6 with a 4.23 career ERA versus the Twins.

Lefty Brian Duensing, who has also had a tough time recently, will oppose Masterson on the hill. Duensing is just 1-4 with a 6.39 ERA over his last six starts but the lone win came against the Indians on July 29 when he surrendered just one run and five hits over six innings during a 5-1 Twins win.

Overall Duensing is an impressive 5-1 with a 2.81 ERA over 14 appearances -- six starts -- against Cleveland.

The Twins have prevailed in seven of their 10 bouts with the Indians this season and took two of three from Cleveland at Progressive Field back in early June.