Thome, Indians set to play two with Twins

After helping slug the Indians to a victory over the Twins and-forth opener of a four-game series, Jim Thome will try to extend Cleveland's winning streak over Minnesota in a scheduled doubleheader today at Progressive Field.

Thome clubbed the 604th home run of his career in last night's 6-5 victory, one that featured a walk-off pinch-hit homer by Carlos Santana. The night belonged to Thome, though, as he was honored before the game in recognition of reaching the 600-homer milestone earlier this season.

The designated hitter also learned that a statue of him will be placed at Progressive Field and proceeded to go 3-for-4 with three RBI against the Twins, who he began the season with before being dealt to the Indians. Thome started his career with Cleveland, playing with the franchise from 1991-2002 before departing as a free agent.

"That was unbelievable for Jim," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He's still got that strength, that power."

The victory was Cleveland's second in a row and sixth in nine games overall. It has also won six straight over Minnesota and nine of the 15 meetings this year.

Chris Parmelee homered and drove in three runs for Minnesota, which lost for the 12th time in 13 games after Matt Capps gave up Santana's homer on the first pitch he threw in the bottom of the ninth.

"He's trying to get ahead of the guy first pitch," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You come in ready to hit a fastball when you're pinch- hitting. He threw a fastball over the middle of the plate and the kid killed it."

Hoping to avoid a fifth straight loss in the first game of the twinbill is Cleveland's David Huff, who has pitched to a 7.11 earned run average since his last win on Aug. 29.

Huff exited after 2 2/3 innings versus the Mariners on Monday, with the 27- year-old lefty yielding nine runs -- five earned -- on seven hits and three walks. He fell to 2-6 with a 4.20 ERA in 10 games after his rain-soaked outing.

"Ugly day, disappointing loss. Gave David some runs to work with and unfortunately he had a very rough day," said Acta.

Huff made his season debut with seven scoreless innings to beat the Twins on July 18, but is still 3-5 versus them lifetime with a 5.52 ERA.

Mitch Talbot goes in the nightcap in what will be his first start in the majors since July 8.

Talbot, the lone right-hander to start in this doubleheader, lasted 5 1/3 innings in his last appearance with Cleveland, giving up eight runs and 11 hits. He went 2-6 with a 6.33 ERA in 11 starts before landing on the disabled list with a lower back strain and being sent down to Triple-A.

"My ball was really flat when I was here," Talbot said on the Tribe's website. "I just worked on getting it downhill again, getting sink instead of run."

The 27-year-old has split a pair of meetings with Minnesota with a 4.50 ERA.

The Twins were originally going to give a start to Francisco Liriano today, but he hasn't made one since Aug. 25 due to injury. So, Brian Duensing will get the call in the doubleheader's opener because he is likely to give more innings than Liriano would have been able to.

Duensing hasn't started a game since Sept. 3, when he lasted only 1 1/3 innings versus the Angels and allowed five runs on three hits and two walks before departing. He has pitched three times in relief since, allowing a run over 3 1/3 frames.

The 28-year-old lefty faced Cleveland in relief on Sept. 17 and is 3-1 against the club lifetime with a 3.27 ERA in nine games, including four starts. He is 9-14 with a 5.29 ERA overall this year.

Scott Diamond will start the second game of the doubleheader for the Twins and is 1-5 with a 4.81 ERA over his first six major league starts. The Canadian has lost three straight starts overall.

Diamond's four-inning effort in New York on Monday was the shortest of the 25- year-old's brief career as he allowed five runs on 10 hits over three walks.

The left-hander lost to Cleveland in his MLB debut on July 18, giving up three earned runs over 6 1/3 innings.