Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Nishioka playing second base for Twins tonight as they face the reeling Indians

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: August 6, 2012 - 6:13 PM

CLEVELAND -- The last time the Indians played at Progressive Field, on July 26, they rallied for a thrilling comeback victory over Justin Verlander and the Tigers.

Cleveland was 3 1/2 games out of first place. But then the Indians went to Minnesota, opening a nine-game road trip, and all they did was lose.

According to Paul Hoynes, in the Plain Dealer, it was the first time in the team’s 112-year history that it has gone winless on a road trip of nine or more games. The Indians are now 9 1/2 games back. On the trip, they were outscored 74-28 and batted .218 as a team and .183 with runners in scoring position.

Sunday’s loss in Detroit was the ultimate capper, as the teams were tied 5-5 in the ninth. The Indians pulled a miracle escape in the ninth inning, after Austin Jackson hit a leadoff triple, then took an 8-5 lead in the 10th. Closer Chris Perez recorded two quick outs, but the Tigers stormed back with five runs, capped by a walk-off homer from Miguel Cabrera.

The weather in Cleveland is beautiful today, but I’m guessing walk-up sales won’t be strong, as the Indians open a three-game series with the Twins.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka is here and was out for early batting practice with the Twins.

Stats of the day: The Twins have won their past five games against Cleveland, outscoring the Indians 41-13 in that stretch. The same three pitchers the Twins will use in this series -- Scott Diamond, Sam Deduno and Brian Duensing -- held the Indians to two runs in 22 2/3 innings in Minnesota's sweep at Target Field from July 27-29.

Update: Nishioka is playing second base and batting seventh.

Update: The Twins plan to give Nishioka regular playing time at second base.

"That’s what he was playing down there [for Class AAA Rochester] and playing very well," Manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That’s what we’re going to do. All the reports have been that he’s playing fantastic baseball and having quality at-bats and playing solid defense. So I’m excited to see if he can carry that right into here and do what we had planned him doing from the get-go.”

TWINS (47-61)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, C
7. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B
8. Brian Dozier, SS
9. Jamey Carroll, 3B

Starting pitcher: LH Scott Diamond (9-5, 2.93 ERA)

INDIANS (50-58)

1. Jason Kipnis, 2B
2. Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF
4. Carlos Santana, 1B
5. Michael Brantley, CF
6. Shelley Duncan, DH
7. Jose Lopez, 3B
8. Lou Maron, C
9. Ezequiel Carrera, LF

Starting pitcher: RH Zach McAllister (4-3, 3.42 ERA)

Progressive Field. First pitch: 6:05 p.m. (Central). TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network

Follow along on Twitter: @JoeCStrib

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