The Twins’ recent run has been a power-packed one. They entered Tuesday with a major league-leading 24 home runs over their previous 17 games. And they looked ready to bash their way to another victory when Josh Willingham homered in the second inning.
But all were reminded on Tuesday what happens when the Twins aren’t hitting homers. The power surge petered out, Samuel Deduno got knocked around and the Twins fell 5-2 to the Cleveland Indians at Target Field.
Willingham’s homer, off a Zach McAllister meatball, gave the Twins 23 consecutive runs scored by a long ball. That’s a major league record, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
That run ended in the sixth inning when Joe Mauer singled and scored on Cleveland center fielder Michael Bourn’s fielding error on Justin Morneau’s single.
That led to another run … a run of futility with runners in scoring position. The Twins twice had a runner on third with one out and one of their top-five hitters at the plate. That runner was stranded each time as at-bats got sloppy.
The Twins were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position Tuesday. Over their past six games, they are 3-for-49 in those situations with the three hits — you guessed it — home runs.
Without any more power, McAllister, a righthander who was 0-3 with a 8.00 ERA against the Twins entering the game, improved to 5-7.
Perhaps the Twins are trying to exhaust all their poor at-bats in those situations so they can tear up the final six weeks of the season.
“Offensively, we didn’t do too much,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Their guy kept painting the outside corner against our righties. Nice little changeup. Nice little breaking ball. He basically stopped us, and the game seemed like it didn’t go anywhere.’’
Deduno (7-6) struggled for a second outing in a row. He gave up a run in the third, fourth and fifth innings. He opened the sixth by plunking Carlos Santana on the foot. His next pitch, to Ryan Raburn, landed in the seats in left-center, putting Cleveland up 5-1.
McAllister shook off the Willingham home run and gave up two runs (one earned) over six innings on six hits and one walk while striking out seven.
Deduno gave up four earned runs over six innings on five hits and three walks while striking out four. He struck out the side in the first inning and retired the first six Indians batters he faced, but things unraveled from there.
Twins get pitcher
The Twins and Dodgers wrapped up their July 31 trade involving catcher Drew Butera. Los Angeles sent lefthander Miguel Sulbaran as the player to be named.
Sulbaran, 19, is 6-4 with a 3.01 ERA in 23 games (16 starts) for Class A Great Lakes in the Midwest League. MLB.com ranked him as the 14th-best prospect in the Dodgers organization. With a low-90s fastball, curveball and changeup, Sulbaran has been compared to Wandy Rodriguez but could end up in the bullpen. He has been assigned to Class A Cedar Rapids.
• Pitching prospect Jose Berrios was placed on the seven-day disabled list at Class AA New Britain after suffering a bruised elbow on Saturday when hit with a batted ball. “Don’t worry about him,” General Manager Terry Ryan said. Berrios pitched 7 ⅓ scoreless innings in the outing and is 7-5 with a 3.45 ERA in 17 starts.
• Righthander Nick Blackburn will travel to the Twin Cities on Wednesday to have his sore right knee examined. He hasn’t pitched since July 23 for Class AAA Rochester during his comeback from wrist surgery.