Twins 7, Indians 5
Poor pitching and hitting have been constants in the Cleveland Indians' losing streak. Tuesday night they added shoddy defense to the mix.
The Indians' 7-5 defeat to Minnesota was their 11th straight loss, tying a franchise record. Unlike Monday night when Cleveland allowed 10 runs in the second inning in a 14-3 blowout, the latest loss was the kind that will keep a manager up at night.
Minnesota scored three times off All-Star closer Chris Perez (0-4), who blew his second save opportunity in three days.
The Indians led 5-1 after six innings, but two errors in the seventh and another in the ninth helped Minnesota rally for its fifth win in six games and seven straight victories over Cleveland.
Indians manager Manny Acta hasn't seen his team win July 26.
''When it's going bad, that's what happens,'' Acta said. ''That's the way the ball bounces and it's not bouncing right in any way, shape or form.''
Cleveland previously dropped 11 straight on four occasions, most recently Sept. 13-24, 2009. The team's longest losing streak is 12 games from May 7-21, 1931. Cleveland has been outscored 95-36 in the streak. The Indians will try to avoid tying the streak when they host the Twins again Wednesday afternoon.
Perez, who allowed five runs in the 10th inning in Sunday's 10-8 loss to Detroit, entered the game with a 5-4 lead. He gave up three runs, only one of which was earned thanks to first baseman Casey Kotchman's error, four hits and a walk.
''It's unacceptable performances,'' Perez said of his recent work. ''It's coming at the worst time for us. You've got to fight through it. The games aren't going away off the schedule. I'm not getting off the horse. It stinks, but it could always get worse.''
Tsuyoshi Nishioka's sacrifice fly scored the go-ahead run. Tyler Robertson (1-0) pitched two innings for his first major league win. Glen Perkins pitched the ninth for his seventh save.
Perez struck out Joe Mauer to start the ninth, but Josh Willingham singled. Pinch-runner Darin Mastroianni stole second before Justin Morneau sent a ground ball behind first base. Kotchman got in front of the ball, but it skipped off his glove and rolled into shallow right field and Mastroianni scored to tie the game.
''It took a bad hop and obviously, an unfavorable bounce off my wrist,'' Kotchman said. ''When he hit it, it started out foul and kicked a couple of times.''
Ryan Doumit followed with a double that moved Morneau to third. Nishioka's fly ball to left put Minnesota ahead. Brian Dozier followed with an RBI single to give the Twins a cushion.
Perez was finally removed with the bases loaded. The right-hander, who criticized Cleveland fans earlier in the season for not attending games, had no reaction as he was booed while slowly walking off the field.
''I deserved it,'' Perez said.
The Indians took a 5-1 lead into the seventh, but fielding errors by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and second baseman Jason Kipnis helped the Twins score three unearned runs. Ben Revere had an RBI groundout and Morneau's routine grounder with two outs went through Kipnis' legs, scoring two more runs. Chris Seddon retired Doumit on a ground ball to end the inning.
''We scored enough runs to win the game,'' Acta said. ''The three guys who made errors have played great defense for us all year.''
''We got some breaks tonight and had a couple of things go our way, but we kept battling,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''To put together a ninth inning like that against a guy who throws pretty damn hard like Perez, it was a good day for the ballclub.''
Morneau, who homered twice and drove in four runs Monday, had an RBI single in the first. Revere extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a one-out single.
Carlos Santana added an RBI double in the sixth for a 5-1 lead.
NOTES: A throwing error charged to Kipnis in Minnesota's 10-run second inning Monday has been changed to a fielding error by Santana, who played first base. Eight of the runs in the inning are still unearned. ... Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe (bruised right thumb) fielded ground balls and ran the bases before the game. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Plouffe will take swings in the batting cage Wednesday. ... RHP Carl Pavano (rotator cuff) allowed one run in two innings for Single-A Fort Myers on Tuesday. ... Cleveland DH Travis Hafner (back soreness) missed his second straight game. He might be sent for tests if his condition isn't improved Wednesday, according to manager Manny Acta. ... The Indians promoted RHP Frank Herrmann from Triple-A Columbus and designated INF Jose Lopez for assignment before the game. ... The series ends Wednesday when RHP Justin Masterson (7-10) faces LHP Brian Duensing (2-6).