American League Central rivals get together at Progressive Field on Sunday, as the Cleveland Indians host the Minnesota Twins in the finale of a three-game set.
The hottest teams in the AL at the moment, Cleveland is riding a six-game win streak, accounting for nearly half of the team's entire win total to this point. On Saturday the Tribe moved over .500 and to within three games of first place in the division thanks to a 7-3 romp.
Jason Kipnis, who has five hits and six RBI in the last two games, responded with his second home run of the campaign and a couple of runs scored in the triumph, while designated hitter Nick Swisher notched his third home run of the season.
Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir threw a solid six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk, fanning seven, as he notched his first win in the majors since Sept. 19, 2010.
"It feels good to just get that monkey off my back," Kazmir said. "It's been a while. Today felt great."
Suffering the loss for the Twins was Kevin Correia as he permitted four runs on six hits -- two home runs -- and a couple of walks. He struck out four in five innings even though he threw just 59 strikes on 102 pitches.
"I just didn't have command of my pitches like I did in my last couple starts," said Correia. "I fell behind guys, and they took advantage."
Rookie Aaron Hicks, batting just .123 with a slugging percentage of .198 in 24 games this season, notched the first home run of his career for Minnesota as the team bowed for the second straight game and the fourth in five tries. The Twins are now 4 1/2 games off the pace in the division.
Loser of two straight and three of his last four outings, Mike Pelfrey prepares to take the mound for the Twins this afternoon. In each of those last four contests the right-hander has given up at least four earned runs, which explains why his ERA is currently a whopping 7.66.
The most recent game for Pelfrey took place on Monday when he permitted four runs on seven hits, two of which were home runs, over the course of 5 1/3 innings. The Wichita State product also issued a pair of walks and struck out only one which means he now has just as many bases-on-balls (seven) as he does strikeouts over the course of 22 1/3 innings.
Meanwhile, countering for the Tribe will be Corey Kluber, making just his fourth appearance of 2013. The right-hander has been helped tremendously in the last two games against Houston and Kansas City on the road, as the Cleveland offense has come up with a combined 29 runs in those contests.
Versus the Royals last weekend, Kluber lasted seven innings, permitting two runs on seven hits, striking out six without issuing a single walk.
Now in his third season in the majors, Kluber has faced the Twins a total of three times previously, but has yet to record a decision.
Cleveland has now won three straight over the Twins dating back to last season, although prior to the run the team had fallen in 12 out of 14 matchups with Minnesota.