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Twins Insider

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Twins want to keep one streak alive tonight: Their success vs. Bauer

    CLEVELAND — There’s all kinds of history the Twins would like to avoid tonight. They’ve only had three other 11-game losing streaks in franchise history, for instance; the Twins would prefer not to make it four tonight. They can become only the fourth team in major-league history to allow eight or more runs in seven straight games, but that too is one they’d like to avoid.

    One part of history they would like to extend, however: Indians starter Trevor Bauer has started 10 games against Minnesota in his career, and the Twins have won eight of them, including the last four in a row. Considering he is 9-6 this season and owns a 3.88 ERA, that’s a pretty amazing streak against a good pitcher. It has Paul Molitor a little worried, too.

    “We’ve had some games where we’ve had fairly good results, yet if you look at our matchup numbers, really only a couple of guys have done particularly well,” the Twins manager said. “I think what he found out last time out was that his curveball is a good pitch against some of our hitters, especially our left-handed guys. So we’ll have to make adjustments if we want to have a good night.”

    Logan Schafer is in uniform tonight, wearing No. 32, and will play center field, batting ninth. Danny Santana, placed on the disabled list today, was examined by Twins doctors in Minneapolis, but he’ll be out at least two weeks with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder, the result of a collision with Robbie Grossman in the outfield in Toronto on Sunday.

    Miguel Sano is at third base tonight for the first time since Aug. 18 and only the fourth time this month. His elbow is mostly pain-free, Molitor said, and he’s been working hard to improve his defense. “I don’t think he’s missed a day of work defensively, probably, in the last month,” Molitor said. “Even day games, when we haven’t [taken batting practice], he’s still gone out there and done some type of short-hop drill.”

    Hector Santiago returns to the mound tonight, hoping to stop the Twins’ 10-game losing streak. Here are the lineups:

TWINS    

 

Dozier 2B

Mauer 1B

Plouffe DH

Sano 3B

Kepler RF

Polanco SS

Rosario LF

Centeno C

Schafer CF

 

Santiago RHP

 

INDIANS

 

Davis CF

Kipnis 2B

Lindor SS

Napoli 1B

Santana DH

Ramirez 3B

Guyer LF

Almonte RF

Perez C

 

Bauer RHP

Postgame: Molitor considered, but resisted, using Kintzler two innings early

    TORONTO — Paul Molitor talked on Saturday about his determination to find ways to end the losing streak. One of them, he said, might involve the bullpen.

    “You think about doing things differently when you’re in these kind of stretches. I had a thought during the game [Friday] night, when we got to [within] 6-5 even though we were in the sixth inning, to go to someone a little bit more experienced to try to keep that game close longer,”  Molitor said. “You become vulnerable near the end if you have to find other people to fill the end of the game, [but] you don’t just want to go, ‘OK, it’s the sixth inning, it’s too early.’ When you’re trying to find a way to win a game, sometimes you have to think outside the box a little bit.”

    On Sunday, I thought he would have his chance. Kyle Gibson allowed a pair of runs in the sixth inning, but rookie Pat Light rescued him by getting Josh Thole to ground into an inning-ending double play. That meant the Twins still held a one-run lead, 5-4, but the top of the Blue Jays’ order was due up on the seventh, that sluggers’ row of Bautista-Donaldson-Encarnacion-Martin-Tulowitzki. 

    The heavily worked Ryan Pressly had thrown 34 pitches on Saturday, so he was out. But closer Brandon Kintzler had pitched only once in the past week, a 10-pitch mop-up outing on Thursday. With Molitor’s words in my ears, I confidently predicted in the press box that Kintzler would be summoned to pitch the seventh.

    I guessed wrong.

    “I didn’t think it was an option in the seventh inning,” Molitor said. “Obviously you can try to have him put up a zero, maybe two, and try to figure out a way to hang on at the end. The seventh inning was going to be key.”

    Molitor had a point about having few options for the ninth inning, even if Kintzler kept the Blue Jays in check. So he chose to stick with Light, who had looked good finishing the sixth inning, but who has little experience against a lineup as potent as Toronto’s is now. Light was eager to get his shot, but it didn’t go well. Jose Bautista hit a hard grounder that got through the infield for a single, and Josh Donaldson followed up by whacking a 1-and-0 fastball over the center field wall, putting the Jays ahead for good.

    In the end, the Jays added three more runs against three pitchers who had fewer than 16 inings of major league experience between them, and Kintzler didn’t get into the game. “I thought about trying to get four outs [with him], maybe 5 outs,” Molitor said, “but I didn’t think that was the time, even though unconventional might work.”

Bottom 10th R H E
Minnesota 49-81 0 9 1
Cleveland 73-56 0 6 0