The Cleveland Indians’ once promising season has spiraled out of control. Minnesota was the latest team to give them a spin on Monday night.
Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit homered during a 10-run second inning as the Twins routed the Indians 14-3, sending Cleveland to its 10th consecutive loss.
Starting pitcher Zach McAllister (4-4) was sent to the showers after 1 2/3 innings as the Indians dug an early 10-1 hole — and moved within two games of the longest losing streak in franchise history. Cleveland lost 12 straight from May 7-21, 1931, while its last double-digit skid was an 11-gamer in 2009.
”I asked one of my coaches to pinch me tonight because I couldn’t believe it was happening again,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. ”It continues to be rough and disappointing the way we’re giving up runs.
”I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it and I don’t think I’ll see anything like it again.”
On Sunday, the Indians completed the worst road trip in their 112-year history, losing all nine games. All-Star closer Chris Perez gave up five runs with two outs in the 10th inning in a 10-8 defeat at Detroit in loss No. 9.
Upon returning home, Cleveland general manager Chris Antonetti expressed his support for Acta, saying, ”I certainly think he’s part of the solution, not part of our issues.”
The Indians are 28-43 since May 18 and 50-59 on the season.
”I never think about any of that because I can’t control it,” Acta said of his job security. ”No one is happy losing, but you can’t start acting crazy in front of the guys. I can’t wait to get to the ballpark tomorrow and try to turn things around.”
Minnesota left-hander Scott Diamond (10-5) went seven innings for the win, allowing three runs — two earned — and seven hits. The rookie’s only major mistake came in the sixth, when Cleveland first baseman Carlos Santana ripped a two-run homer to cut the Twins’ lead to 13-3.
McAllister tossed a 1-2-3 first inning, then gave up nine runs, six hits and two walks in the second, including home runs by Willingham and Morneau. Seven of the runs charged to him were unearned, thanks to a two-out throwing error by second baseman Jason Kipnis.
During Cleveland’s 10-game losing streak, its starting pitchers are 0-8 with an 11.66 ERA (57 earned runs in 44 innings), while it has been outscored overall 88-31.
”Once the hits started coming, they didn’t stop,” McAllister said. ”They got on a roll and once that error was made, I couldn’t pick (Kipnis) up like I take pride in doing. It’s definitely frustrating to me.”
Josh Tomlin surrendered a three-run homer to Doumit upon entering the game, and a two-run shot to Morneau in the fourth that extended Minnesota’s advantage to 12-1. It was Morneau’s second home run of the game and the 200th of his career.
Minnesota’s 10 second-inning runs were one shy of its team record. It sent 13 batters to the plate in the frame while forcing McAllister and Tomlin to throw 58 pitches.
”It was incredible, really, to score 10 runs in an inning,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ”It doesn’t happen very often.”
The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the first when Santana grounded into a double play that scored Kipnis. Shortly thereafter, boos began to rain down on the field by the Progressive Field crowd of 18,775.
”No one ever wants to hear that, it’s terrible,” McAllister said. ”But this is baseball, it happens. You’ve got to move on and get the next one tomorrow.”
NOTES: Indians DH Travis Hafner sat out with a sore back, while Antonetti said Cleveland OF Grady Sizemore (back and knee surgeries) could start a rehab assignment in two weeks. … Indians RHP Roberto Hernandez, who is serving a three-week MLB suspension for age and identity fraud, will make one more start at Triple-A Columbus before rejoining the team. … Twins 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who was recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Sunday, committed two errors in his first major league game since Sept. 9, 2011. … Minnesota RHP Carl Pavano (right rotator cuff) will pitch two innings for Single-A Fort Myers on Tuesday. … Cleveland RHP Corey Kluber (0-0) will face Minnesota RHP Samuel Deduno (3-0) in the second game of the series Tuesday night.