CLEVELAND (AP) - The Minnesota Twins began the season with aspirations of reaching the World Series.
With four games left in a nightmarish season, the only thing the two-time defending AL Central champions can look forward to is going home.
Saturday's day-night doubleheader against Cleveland best sums up Minnesota's season.
After losing the opener 8-2, the Twins took a 6-0 lead into the sixth inning of the second game, but watched the Indians score five times in the sixth and twice in the seventh to send Minnesota to a 7-6 loss.
The Twins (60-98) have lost 19 of 21 to reach the second-most losses since the team moved to Minnesota in 1961, ahead of only a 60-102 record in 1982. They have lost eight straight to the Indians.
``We ended up losing a ballgame we thought we had pretty handily and played pretty good,' manager Ron Gardenhire said. ``It was another loss on a very long day.'
``It's been a terrible year,' said reliever Matt Capps, who gave up Shelley Duncan's two-run double in the seventh, the hit that put Cleveland ahead. ``It hasn't been a whole lot of fun.'
Drew Butera drove in three runs from the No. 9 spot in Minnesota's order, helping the Twins build a 6-0 lead against Mitch Talbot, who was recalled from Triple-A Columbus for the start.
Scott Diamond took a three-hit shutout into the sixth, but allowed four more hits and four runs. Alex Burnett yielded two hits and one run before Jose Mijares (0-2) got out of the inning with a 6-5 lead.
Mijares came out for the seventh, but gave up singles to Jason Donald and Carlos Santana to start the inning. Mijares struck out Jim Thome, but Duncan lined Capps' 3-2 pitch down the left-field line, scoring both runners.
It's been a rough weekend for Capps. He came on in the ninth inning Friday of a 5-5 tie, but Santana homered on his first pitch.
``I made one pitch yesterday,' Capps said. ``I felt good today. That last pitch to Duncan, it was over the middle of the plate and he hit it.'
``Diamond was going along really good,' Gardenhire said. ``Everything he threw was up in the sixth inning and they started whacking him all over the place. He couldn't stop the snowball from going downhill and everyone else added snow to it.'
``We were in a deep hole and had to crawl out,' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ``Diamond threw strikes. He changed speeds and did a good job until we were able to get to him there in the sixth.'
Minnesota's Danny Valencia and Denard Span were back in the lineup after missing one game. They were involved in a minor car accident on the way to the airport on Thursday, when Span drove into the back of Valencia's car. Valencia played in both games while Span played in game one.
Michael Cuddyer, who injured his groin Friday night, was the DH in both games. Ben Revere extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games with hits in both games.
Francisco Liriano (9-10) gave up five runs and got only one out in Cleveland's six-run sixth in the opener.
Duncan drove in three runs in each half of the doubleheader.
Two Cleveland rookies earned their first career wins. Left-hander Nick Hagadone (1-0) pitched an inning to get the victory in the second game. Right-hander Zach Putnam (1-0) struck out three over 1 1-3 innings in the opener.
Chris Perez pitched the ninth inning of the second game for his 36th save in 40 chances.
All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera left the second game in the sixth inning with what the team announced as a bruised right elbow. He was hit by a pitch Friday night.
Notes: Twins rookie 1B Chris Parmelee was 0 for 4 with four strikeouts in the opener. ... Minnesota placed C Joe Mauer (pneumonia), 1B Justin Morneau (concussion symptoms) and IN Tsuyowshi Nishioka (strained oblique) on the disabled list. All the moves were retroactive to mid-September. ... Cleveland closes its home season Sunday with RHP Fausto Carmona (7-15) opposing Twins RHP Liam Hendricks (0-2). ... Indians INF Cord Phelps broke an 0-for-27 streak with a single in the second game. ... Indians DH Jim Thome drew his 1,723rd walk, 10 behind Mickey Mantle for seventh on the career list. ... The Indians honored broadcaster Mike Hegan for his 50 years in pro baseball. Hegan played 12 years in the majors and is in his 34th season at the microphone, the past 23 with Cleveland.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved