Sports

Surging Twins take on Indians

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Twins look to keep pace in the American League Central Division on Friday when they pay a visit to Progressive Field to kick off a weekend series with the Cleveland Indians.

The Twins just wrapped up an 8-3 homestand and have picked up a head of steam with wins in seven of their last eight games. They now sit three games above .500 for the first time since 2010 when they won the division title.

"We had this confidence from Week 1, it's just hard to show it with a 1-6 record," third baseman Trevor Plouffe said of the team's slow start. "We knew we could do it. But talk is cheap. You have to go out there and win. That's what we've been doing lately."

Still, Minnesota entered Friday in third place in the AL Central, 2 1/2 games back of Kansas City. The Twins are coming off Thursday's 6-5 triumph over Oakland to clinch that four-game series.

Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar each drove in a pair of runs to spark the offense for the second straight day. Escobar had five RBI in Wednesday's 13-0 victory, and Rosario homered on the first pitch of his big league career in that one.

Meanwhile, Cleveland is looking to build some momentum as the team kicks off a six-game homestand. The Indians have alternated wins and losses over their last eight games, and they dropped two of three in Kansas City this week.

On Thursday, the Indians were on the wrong end of a 7-4 final as they were out-hit by the Royals, 12-4. Starter Corey Kluber served up a three-run homer to Eric Hosmer as part of a four-run first inning, and the right-hander was never able to recover as he dropped to 0-5 on the season.

On a positive note, the Tribe should have Nick Swisher back in the lineup after the 34-year-old sat out Thursday. Swisher came off the disabled list on Tuesday following an eight-month rehab from surgery on both knees and spent a couple of days in the designated hitter slot.

Trevor Bauer gets the start for Cleveland. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA through five starts but has not factored into a decision in any of his last three outings. His most recent was his shortest start of the season, as he went just 4 1/3 innings at home against Toronto and allowed six earned runs on seven hits.

Mike Pelfrey will start for Minnesota. The righty is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA but, like Bauer, is also coming off a shortened outing. Pelfrey lasted only 3 1/3 frames against the White Sox despite being spotted an early seven-run lead, as he battled control problems with two walks and three hit batters.

Minnesota took two of three from Cleveland at home last month.