Cleveland at Minnesota

Venue: Target Field

The Cleveland Indians have finished at or near the bottom of the AL Central as the Minnesota Twins have won the last two division titles.

When these rivals meet for the first time this season Saturday at Target Field, the Indians will be the club on top with the Twins trying to climb out of the cellar.

Cleveland tries to snap a five-game skid in this matchup as Minnesota goes for its fifth consecutive home win in the series after Friday night's opener was postponed due to inclement weather.

After tying for last in the Central in 2009 - 21 1/2 games behind the Twins - the Indians went 69-93 last season and finished 25 back of Minnesota, which won 12 of 18 meetings between the clubs.

Cleveland (13-6), though, enters this contest in first place in the division.

"They've been the best team in our division the past few years. The title chase still runs through Minnesota," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "It's still very early. Way too early. I know everyone would rather be on top right now.

"That's normal, but it's way too early. Let's not forget these guys were trailing the White Sox by like five games after the All-Star break, and they won the division relatively easy."

The Indians were two outs from extending their division lead Thursday, but closer Chris Perez allowed two ninth-inning runs, snapping a personal scoreless streak of 26 1-3 innings in a 3-2 loss to second-place Kansas City.

Still, Cleveland is off to its best 19-game start since opening 14-5 in 1999.

"To me it's about consistent baseball," Acta said. "You have to make sure you don't get into too many lulls. You have to make sure that if you have a month where you don't play .500, it's not ridiculously bad. That's what it's all about."

The Indians continue their trip with Fausto Carmona (1-2, 4.74 ERA) on the mound. The right-hander, 1-1 with a 1.25 ERA in his last three starts, allowed five hits in seven innings and earned his first victory Sunday, 4-2 over Baltimore.

Cleveland did not score while the sinkerballer was in the game in his first three outings.

The Twins (7-12) return home following a 3-5 trip that ended with Thursday's 3-1 win over the Orioles. Jim Thome hit a solo homer and drove in two, while Michael Cuddyer went deep for the second straight game.

Minnesota entered the game with a major league-low six homers, but manager Ron Gardenhire wouldn't be surprised if Thome's blast - his 591st - gets him going.

"That's one thing he can do is swing the bat," said Gardenhire, whose team has scored an MLB-low 57 runs.

The Indians don't need to be reminded. The 40-year-old slugger, who hit a franchise-record 334 homers for Cleveland from 1991-2002, batted .313 with five home runs and nine RBIs against the Indians last season.

Minnesota could use continued production from Thome and Cuddyer with Joe Mauer and Tsuyoshi Nishioka on the disabled list and Justin Morneau and Delmon Young not at full strength.

Morneau (stomach virus) and Young (ribs) weren't in the lineup Friday but could return for this game.

While the Twins' offense tries to get untracked, Brian Duensing (1-0, 3.60) hopes to shut down the Indians, who are among the AL leaders with 99 runs.

In his last start, the left-hander helped the Twins snap their season-high four-game skid with seven strong innings in Sunday's 4-2 win at Tampa. Minnesota has won each of his three starts.

Duensing is 2-0 with a 4.05 ERA in two starts against Cleveland.

The Indians have been outscored 26-8 during their losing streak at Target Field.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Probable Starters

Fausto Carmona, RHP
2011 stats
24.2 Innings Pitched 20.0
1-2 Wins-Losses 1-0
4.74 Earned Run Average 3.60
7 Walks 6
20 Strikeouts 14
104 Pitches Per Start 105
Career vs. opponent
89.2 Innings Pitched 18.1
4-8 Wins-Losses 2-0
4.82 Earned Run Average 3.93

Brian Duensing, LHP
weather image  Overcast. Cool.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Cleveland4th AL Central1113.4582 ½ 4-6 L 1
Minnesota1st AL Central1310.565-5-5 L 2
vs Brian Duensing
vs Fausto Carmona

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Game Odds
Cleveland 120 Minnesota -130
M. BrantleyShoulder
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C. CarrascoHand
J. AdamElbow
N. BurdiArm
L. DarnellShoulder
B. DozierOblique
P. HughesShoulder
T. JayNeck
Y. LandaUndisclosed
T. MayBack
B. ParkFinger
G. PerkinsShoulder
T. PlouffeOblique
E. RosarioThumb
A. SalcedoSuspension
D. SantanaShoulder
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Series Game Log
Apr 3MIN 4:10 PM EDT  
Apr 5MIN 1:10 PM EDT  
Apr 6MIN 1:10 PM EDT  
Apr 28KC 8:15 PM EDT  
Apr 29KC 7:15 PM EDT  
Apr 30KC 2:15 PM EDT  
May 19MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
May 20MIN 2:10 PM EDT  
May 21MIN 2:10 PM EDT  
Jun 30KC 8:15 PM EDT  
Jul 1KC 2:15 PM EDT  
Jul 2KC 2:15 PM EDT  
Sep 1MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 2MIN 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 3MIN 2:10 PM EDT  
Sep 7KC 8:15 PM EDT  
Sep 8KC 8:15 PM EDT  
Sep 9KC 7:15 PM EDT  
Sep 10KC 2:15 PM EDT