The Minnesota Twins’ winning streak is over. Facing the reeling Cleveland Indians could help them start another one.
Minnesota goes for a sixth consecutive victory in this AL Central matchup Monday night when the host Indians try to end a nine-game losing streak.
Looking for its first four-game road sweep since June 2-5, 2011, against Kansas City, Minnesota (47-61) lost 6-4 to Boston on Sunday.
The Twins have won seven of 10 after dropping 13 of 18.
“We’re not going to quit. I can guarantee you that,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Minnesota continues its seven-game trip with its second series versus the Indians (50-58) in a little more than a week. After being swept by the Chicago White Sox, the Twins outscored the Indians 28-6 in a three-game home sweep July 27-29.
Monday’s starter Scott Diamond (9-5, 2.93 ERA), the team leader in wins and innings pitched with 107 1-3, opened that series for Minnesota by throwing a three-hitter in an 11-0 victory. It was the left-hander’s first career shutout.
“We couldn’t do anything against him,” Cleveland manager Manny Acta said of Diamond, who is 2-0 with no earned runs allowed in 16 innings against the Indians in 2012.
Diamond is looking to rebound from a 3-2 loss to the White Sox on Wednesday when he yielded three runs in 7 1-3 innings.
There doesn’t appear to be any lingering effects after he took a liner to his thigh in the eighth.
“It was more precautionary than anything else,” Gardenhire told the Twins’ official website. “He should be fine.”
The Indians might not be able to recover from Sunday’s 10-8, 10-inning loss to Detroit. One out from ending their longest skid since an 11-game stretch Sept. 13-24, 2009, All-Star closer Chris Perez allowed five runs, the final two coming on Miguel Cabrera’s homer.
It was the first time this season a team down by at least three runs with two outs and nobody on in its last at-bat came back to win in that inning.
“This is very deflating,” said Acta, whose team dropped six games in the standings during the 0-9 trip trails the White Sox by 9 1/2 games. “You never believe it is going to happen.”
The Indians, whose starters have an 11.69 ERA during the skid, will open their seven-game stretch at home with Zach McAllister (4-3, 3.42) on the hill.
The right-hander lasted six innings and allowed all five runs – four in the first two innings – in Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to Kansas City. McAllister also allowed four stolen bases, as opponents improved to 9 for 9 this season against the right-hander.
“I’ve got to do a better job of throwing over,” McAllister said. “That can’t happen.”
A good way to slow down the Twins would be to keep Ben Revere, the team leader with 26 steals, off base. The right fielder, though, is batting .363 (29 for 80) while hitting safely in a career-best 19 straight games. It’s the longest streak by a Twin since Torii Hunter’s 23-game run in 2007.
Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner, who hit his 200th career homer in the 10th inning Sunday, had his 15-game hitting streak against Minnesota snapped July 28. He missed the Twins’ last visit to Cleveland from June 1-3 due to right knee surgery.
Minnesota is seeking its first single-season six-game win streak versus Cleveland since an eight-game run in 1991.