Nishioka's sac fly helps Twins deliver 11th straight loss to Indians
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CLEVELAND -Tsuyoshi Nishioka's sacrifice fly scored the go-ahead run in the ninth inning and the Minnesota Twins rallied for a 7-5 victory over Cleveland, sending the Indians to their 11th straight loss.
Minnesota scored three times off All-Star closer Chris Perez (0-4), who blew his second save opportunity in three days.
The Indians led 5-1 after six innings, but two errors in the seventh and another in the ninth helped Minnesota rally for its fifth win in six games and seven straight victories over Cleveland.
The Indians matched the second-longest skid in franchise history. Cleveland previously dropped 11 straight on four occasions, most recently Sept. 13-24, 2009. The team's longest losing streak was 12 games from May 7-21, 1931. Cleveland, which hasn't won since July 26, has been outscored 95-36 in the streak.
Perez struck out Joe Mauer to start the ninth, but Josh Willingham singled. Pinch-runner Darin Mastroianni stole second before Justin Morneau sent a ground ball behind first base. Casey Kotchman got in front of the ball, but it skipped off his glove and rolled into shallow right field and Mastroianni scored to tie the game.
Perez, who allowed five runs in the 10th inning in Sunday's 10-8 loss to Detroit, was finally removed with the bases loaded. The right-hander, who criticized Cleveland fans earlier in the season for not attending games, had no reaction as he was booed while slowly walking off the field.
The Indians took a 5-1 lead into the seventh, but fielding errors by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and second baseman Jason Kipnis helped the Twins score three unearned runs. Ben Revere had an RBI groundout and Morneau's routine grounder with two outs went through Kipnis' legs, scoring two more runs. Chris Seddon retired Ryan Doumit on a ground ball to end the inning.
Morneau, who homered twice and drove in four runs in Monday's 14-3 win, had an RBI single in the first. Revere extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a one-out single.
Shin-Soo Choo's RBI fielder's choice tied the game in the first. Shelley Duncan hit a two-run homer in the second. Cabrera singled to right for a 4-1 lead.
Carlos Santana added an RBI double in the sixth for a 5-1 lead.
-66: The Twins' run differential on the season, which is approximately a 40-run improvement from where it was prior to the All-Star break.
13: Stolen bases for Mastroianni.
RHP Carl Pavano (shoulder) allowed a run in two innings in a rehab start for Single-A Fort Myers on Tuesday night.
The Twins expect third baseman Trevor Plouffe (bruised thumb) to return to action on Friday at Target Field.
Wednesday: at Cleveland, 11:05 a.m. Twins LHP Brian Duensing (2-6, 4.39) vs. Indians RHP Justin Masterson (7-10, 4.78).
Friday: vs. Tampa Bay, 7:10 p.m. Twins RHP Cole De Vries (2-2, 3.81) vs. Tampa Bay RHP Jeremy Hellickson (6-7, 3.43).