Despite loss, Twins had successful trip

Despite a 6-2 loss Wednesday to the Cleveland Indians, the Minnesota Twins wrapped up a successful road trip in which they went 5-2 against Boston and Cleveland.

The road trip yielded several positive results for the Twins. Entering Wednesday’s game, Minnesota was just one game back of the third-place Indians and had a chance to move into a tie with a win Wednesday. While that didn’t transpire, Minnesota’s recent success — along with Cleveland’s recent 11-game losing streak — means the Twins are close to moving up in the standings.

During the seven-game trip, Twins first baseman Justin Morneau also showed signs that his swing is returning to form. While he went 0-for-3 with a walk in Wednesday’s series finale, he finished the trip 12-for-28 with two homers and eight runs batted in.

Outfielder Ben Revere stayed hot during the road trip, extending his career-long hitting streak to 21 games. He nearly kept the streak alive Wednesday on a groundout to shortstop in the eighth inning, but the throw to first just beat out Revere.

“It was close,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I think somebody said you couldn’t tell on some videos, and on the slo-mos it looked like he might have beat it. But they don’t get a slo-mo out there. They’ve got one call. He called him out, and it was bang-bang. That happens.”

Offensively, Minnesota was impressive in all but Wednesday’s game, in which Indians starter Justin Masterson shut down the Twins. In the last seven games, though, Minnesota averaged 6.3 runs per game — inflated by Monday’s 14-run explosion in Cleveland. Still, the Twins have swung the bats better as of late.

That was the case when Minnesota took three out of four in Boston, as they scored four or more runs in each of the four games. Had the Twins won on Wednesday in Cleveland, it would have been the first time they’d swept a three-game series in Cleveland since June of 1991. It also would have extended Minnesota’s current winning streak over the Indians to eight games.

Yet as good as the Twins had been over the past week, Wednesday’s game was a disappointing end to the trip. Still, the 5-2 record marked the Twins’ best road trip of the season. They also won five games on an early-season trip to Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago in mid-May, going 5-3 on that three-city trip. In fact, Minnesota has played better on the road (26-30 after Wednesday) than it has at Target Field (23-32).

Nevertheless, the Twins return to Target Field on Friday to begin a six-game home stand against the Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers, two teams in the hunt for wild card spots this year.

Gardenhire and Minnesota hope they can continue the success they had on this trip when they open up again at home on Friday.

“It’ll be nice to have a day off tomorrow, get home, relax,” Gardenhire said. “This was a good road trip; a very good road trip. Now we’ll get home and we have two really good teams in Tampa and Detroit coming in, so you’re really going to have to be ready to play because these guys can really play. … Hopefully we’ll get back and show our fans what we’ve been doing on the road.”

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