The Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Indians will butt heads on Sunday afternoon in the rubber match of a three-game weekend series at Progressive Field.
The Indians managed to even up the series on Saturday night by capturing a 7-2 victory.
Cleveland was aided by the longball early in the contest, as Carlos Santana belted a two-run homer in the first inning and Jason Kipnis added a two-run shot of his own in the third. It was the 16th home run of the season for both players, and Kipnis' blast snapped an 0-for-19 slide.
"We needed a nice little offensive day like this," Kipnis said. "The pitchers have been doing their jobs. We know the offense has been struggling a little bit so this was a good night for us to have."
Kipnis finished with two hits and two runs scored, as did Drew Stubbs, who also swiped his 15th bag of the season.
Zach McAllister (7-7) was strong in the win, allowing just four hits, two walks and two earned runs in 7 1/3 innings.
Liam Hendriks (0-2) was saddled with the loss for the Twins, as he was charged with all seven runs in 4 1/3 innings of work. Hendriks has now lost 12 of his 13 career decisions.
Both of Minnesota's runs came off the bat of Brian Dozier, who had a sacrifice fly as well as his 15th home run.
"It was another one of those games where we just kind of sat there and you're waiting for something to happen and it never does," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
On Sunday afternoon, the Twins will send Mike Pelfrey to the hill. In his first season in Minnesota, Pelfrey has underwhelmed with a 5-10 record and a 5.19 ERA.
Pelfrey had gone seven consecutive decisions without a victory prior to his Aug. 20 start versus the Tigers, as he allowed three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings to pick up the win.
Even after his impressive game the last time out, Pelfrey has still been ineffective in August with a 4.70 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP, this after seemingly turning things around in July with a 3.25 ERA.
The Indians will counter with Scott Kazmir, whose up-and-down campaign has resulted in a 7-6 record with a 4.39 ERA.
Following an Aug. 4 win over the Marlins in which he threw six scoreless innings, Kazmir's ERA dipped to a respectable 3.89 ERA, but he has struggled in back-to-back outings, yielding 10 earned runs over his last eight innings pitched. He was handed the loss on Aug. 18 after giving up five earned runs to the Athletics in five innings.
The veteran southpaw has been outstanding versus the Twins this season, going 2-0 in three starts with a 1.42 ERA, striking out 17 batters in 19 innings.
Cleveland owns an 8-6 edge in the season series.