Indians-Twins Preview

The last time Corey Kluber saw the Minnesota Twins, he put the finishing touches on back-to-back complete games.

Kluber tries to continue his recent dominance of the Twins and help the Cleveland Indians possibly gain some ground in the postseason chase Wednesday night.

Kluber (8-14, 3.44 ERA) is 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA over his last five starts against the Twins, going the distance in the last two. He had a one-hitter in a 6-1 win at Minnesota on Aug. 14 after three-hitting the Twins in an 8-1 victory five days earlier.

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The right-hander gets the ball this time after his shortest outing of the year. He tossed 61 pitches in four innings, giving up three runs with five strikeouts, in Thursday's 8-4 loss to Kansas City - his first outing in nearly three weeks due to a hamstring injury.

"I just think that after being down for (19 days), I just thought that he'll be better, and he'll be better suited now to start pitching like he can and not have to think about it," manager Terry Francona told MLB's official website.

"I just think it's the right thing to do."

It's unclear if Francona will take the same approach again since Cleveland (74-75) enters Wednesday 4 1/2 games back of Houston - which hosts the Los Angeles Angels earlier in the day - for the league's second wild-card spot.

The Twins (77-73) trail the Astros by two after beating the Indians 3-1 on Tuesday to open this three-game series. They'll meet in Cleveland for four next week.

Minnesota has Phil Hughes (10-9, 4.58) back in the rotation after Tommy Milone was ruled out with a "tired shoulder," according to manager Paul Molitor.

Hughes has an 8.44 ERA while losing two of three starts against the Indians this year, and he turned in his worst performance of the season in an 8-1 loss at Cleveland on Aug. 9. The right-hander was hammered for seven runs and nine hits in three innings, then landed on the disabled list before his next scheduled start due to lower back inflammation.

He struggled again in his return Sept. 15, giving up three runs in three innings of a 5-4 loss to Detroit, and was moved to the bullpen.

Hughes allowed one run in two innings of relief Saturday against the Angels.

Aaron Hicks is 4 for 8 with three RBIs and as many runs in the last two games after getting an RBI triple and a double Tuesday. The center fielder, though, is 1 for 11 against Kluber.

The Indians are hoping to have Michael Brantley back after he suffered a right shoulder injury when he attempted a diving catch on Hicks' triple Tuesday.

"He jammed his shoulder and it was hard for him to get extended when he was hitting, so we got him in, got him iced," Francona said. "We'll see how he shows up."

Brantley, who went 0 for 2 Tuesday, is hitting .417 with 12 RBIs in his last 15 games against Minnesota.