American League Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, July 29th (All times eastern)
Cleveland Indians (50-51) at Minnesota Twins (42-58), 2:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Cleveland - Ubaldo Jimenez (8-9, 4.97) Minnesota - Brian Duensing (1-6, 4.86)
(Sports Network) - For the second game in a row the Minnesota bats lit up the scoreboard on Saturday and now the team is aiming for a three-game sweep against the Cleveland Indians at Target Field as a result.
Prior to this series the Twins had dropped three straight against the Chicago White Sox on the road, leaving them a mere 21-28 away from home. Unfortunately, even with this recent power surge the Twins are still struggling at home (21-30) as well, but you still have to be impressed with the club's 12-5 romp on Saturday nonetheless.
A day after posting an 11-0 blitz of the Tribe in the series opener, Minnesota batters again went to work on the visitors as Alexi Casilla knocked in four and scored twice for the hosts. Denard Span, Ben Revere and Josh Willingham all plated a pair, the latter hitting his 27th home run during the meeting.
"We had a good night last night and tonight we kind of continued that with getting key hits," Willingham said. "I don't know how many hits we had, but most of the hits that we did have came in big situations."
Starting pitcher Samuel Deduno posted his second win in as many decisions as he limited Cleveland to just one run on a pair of hits and struck out six over seven innings. The young hurler did have some issues with his control however, issuing five bases-on-balls.
"He had a real good feel for his breaking pitches tonight," Mauer said of Deduno even with the walks. "It was almost like he was a little bit more confident throwing a strike with that than his fastball. That's my job, to try to figure out what he's doing well that day. He was really throwing his offspeed over for strikes today, so that was good."
Over on the other side, Carlos Santana connected on his ninth home run of the season, a two-run shot in the top of the eighth that drove in Jose Lopez, as well as an RBI in the first inning to put Cleveland on top in the early going. Aside from Santana, the Tribe produced just three other hits but did show some discipline at the plate as they worked a total of nine walks.
Justin Masterson was saddled with the loss, his ninth, as he permitted 10 runs -- eight earned -- on just seven hits and a couple of walks over the course of 5 2/3 innings.
"These two games are not exactly the way you wanted things to happen," Masterson said as the Indians dropped to 5 1/2 games out of contention in the division. "But it doesn't mean we're done or out of it."
Minnesota had been scheduled to start Francisco Liriano in today's finale, but the left-hander was dealt to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday night, So, instead it will be fellow southpaw Brian Duensing, who is 1-6 with a 4.86 ERA.
Duensing is 4-1 against the Tribe with a with a 3.00 ERA in 13 games (5 starts).
Over on the other side, Cleveland has penciled in Ubaldo Jimenez to counter on the hill today, although he has been rather disappointing in the last month with just one victory to show for his efforts.
The right-hander actually pitched quite well in his most recent outing on Tuesday as he held Detroit scoreless through six innings, scattering seven hits and a couple of walks while fanning four, but he failed to factor into the decision.
Having some trouble with his control in 2012 Jimenez, who is 2-1 with a 2.11 ERA over three games in his career versus Minnesota, has walked (69) nearly as many batters as he has struck out (88).
Minnesota, which now leads the season series by a count of 4-3 over the Indians, still has the worst run differential (minus-88) in the American League despite the last two games.
07/29 10:22:11 ET