Twins squander chances in 3-1 loss to Indians

It’s easy to see why Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire wasn’t

happy following Sunday’s loss to Cleveland.

The Indians tried to give the game away by committing four

errors and making numerous other mistakes, but the Twins couldn’t

take advantage, ending their road trip on a sour note with a 3-1

defeat.

”I don’t know who was supposed to win the game,” Gardenhire

said. ”I know they won it with a couple of hits, but I don’t know

who was supposed to win. Sounds like we were. You make four errors,

you’re not supposed to win.”

The box score will say the Twins lost the game when Jared Burton

(2-7) gave up a two-out homer in the eighth inning to Drew Stubbs

that broke a 1-all tie, but missed opportunities told the real

story. The Twins struck out 12 times, stranded 13 runners and went

3 for 19 with runners in scoring position.

Sunday ended a stretch in which Minnesota played 27 games in 27

days, but Gardenhire wasn’t ready to use it as an excuse for the

team’s inconsistent performance.

”I don’t know if that’s because we’re in such a grind right now

when you’re playing this many games in a row,” he said. ”Guys are

a little worn out, but every team is in the same boat.”

The Twins wasted leadoff doubles in the fourth and sixth

innings, while leaving the bases loaded after scoring their only

run in the fifth.

Cleveland’s shoddy defense gave the Twins plenty of chances.

Pitchers Scott Kazmir and Cody Allen and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera

had throwing errors while second baseman Jason Kipnis dropped a

soft line drive.

However, the game was still tied when Stubbs unloaded off

Burton. The Indians added a run on Nick Swisher’s RBI single before

turning it over to closer Chris Perez in the ninth, who secured his

21st save of the season. Joe Smith (5-1) pitched the eighth.

The Twins came to town with some momentum after taking two of

three from Detroit, which leads the American League Central.

Minnesota won the opener of this series, but dropped Saturday’s

game 7-2.

Pelfrey, making his 24th start of the season, is accustomed to a

lack of run support. The Twins have scored three runs or less 17

times when the right-hander has been on the mound. Pelfrey has gone

1-9 with a 5.46 ERA in those games. In his other seven starts, he’s

4-1 with a 4.20 ERA.

Pelfrey was unable to notch his third consecutive quality start,

but he did go five innings, giving up one run on two hits and

striking out three while walking six.

”Way too many walks. It’s pretty embarrassing, to go out there

and walk six guys,” he said. ”I thought it was a wasted day.

Obviously I had good movement and I had good stuff. The velocity

was there. I just couldn’t throw it over the plate.”

Despite the walks, Pelfrey was mostly able to stay out of

trouble. The Indians’ only run against him came on a bloop single

to left by Kipnis in the third inning. The run was set up by walks

to Stubbs and Swisher.

”That really chapped me,” Pelfrey said.

Just as the Indians struggled against Pelfrey, so too did the

Twins hitters against Cleveland’s Scott Kazmir. He gave up seven

hits but struck out eight, and the Twins’ only run against him came

on a safety squeeze in the fifth inning, which was aided by

Cleveland’s defense.

Clete Thomas led off with a single, took second on a sacrifice

and moved to third on Brian Dozier’s single. Thomas scored when

Doug Bernier pushed a bunt to the right side of the mound. Swisher

fielded the ball, but no one covered first and Bernier reached with

a single.

Josh Willingham struck out, but Ryan Doumit walked to load the

bases. The inning finally ended when Trevor Plouffe lined out to

third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall.

Monday is an off-day for the Twins, and they will play a brief

three-game homestand against Kansas City before leaving for a

six-game road trip against the Texas Rangers and Houston

Astros.

”I think those days are going to go pretty quick at home,”

Gardenhire said.

NOTES: Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said that

All-Star C Joe Mauer (concussion) is resting at home and is

expected to return to Target Field on Tuesday when the team begins

a brief three-game homestand against Kansas City. Mauer is on the

seven-day concussion list, but it’s likely he won’t be activated

until the end of the week at the earliest. … Morneau wasn’t in

the lineup against Kazmir. He pinch-hit in the eighth and reached

on Kipnis’ error… RHP Josh Tomlin, who is attempting to come back

from Tommy John surgery, was activated from the 60-day disabled

list and optioned to Triple-A Columbus. He is expected to rejoin

the Indians when rosters are expanded in September.