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Last place in the American League Central will be on the line when the Cleveland Indians host the Minnesota Twins for three games beginning Tuesday. Cleveland (61-86) is one game ahead of Minnesota (60-87), which will try for its fourth straight victory over the Indians. After Cleveland won the first three meetings of the season, the Twins have taken 10 of 12, including three of four in Minnesota from Sept. 7-10. Cleveland’s three straight losses to end that series began a 2-7 stretch, which concluded with a 7-6 victory over Central contender Detroit 7-6 on Sunday. The Twins have lost five of six since the series with the Indians, including a three-game sweep against division-leading Chicago over the weekend.
Minnesota’s P.J. Walters is 0-2 with a 12.00 ERA after missing almost three months with shoulder inflammation. He will oppose Cleveland’s David Huff, who has pitched six shutout innings of relief – including 3 1/3 against Minnesota – since being called up from Triple-A Columbus on Sept. 4. Huff’s last major league start was Sept. 24, 2011, when he didn’t receive a decision in the Indians’ 8-2 victory over the Twins. Minnesota’s Joe Mauer (9-for-20, homer, four RBIs) has been hard on Huff.
Twins Indians Betting
When: 7:05 PM ET, Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FS North (Minnesota), STO (Cleveland)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH P.J. Walters (2-4, 6.70 ERA) vs. Indians LH David Huff (1-0, 0.00)
Walters was shut down following his start against Philadelphia on June 13 when he didn’t record an out and allowed four runs. He has allowed six runs in each of his two outings since coming back – a 10-5 loss to Kansas City on Wednesday and a 6-2 setback at Chicago on Sept. 5. Three of the 12 hits he yielded in those starts were home runs. Walters didn’t receive a decision in the Twins’ 7-4 victory at Cleveland on June 2 when he allowed four runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. Both victories this season have come on the road.
Huff, who is 4-5 lifetime against the Twins, followed his promising 11-9 rookie season by going a combined 4-17 in 2010 and 2011. He was 7-6 with a 4.97 ERA in 24 games (22 starts) with Columbus this season. Huff earned the victory when he struck out four and retired all 10 batters he faced in Cleveland’s 7-6 win at Minnesota on Sept. 7. He allowed three hits, one walk and struck out four in 2 2/3 innings in a 5-2 loss at Texas on Sept. 12. Huff is expected to make two or three starts replacing Jeanmar Gomez, who was sent to the bullpen.
1. Mauer returned to the lineup Sunday after missing five games because of back spasms, and went 2-for-3 with a homer and double. He played first base.
2. The Indians on Sunday won their first game at home when trailing after eight innings. They had lost their previous 31 such contests this season.
3. Minnesota has six games remaining with Detroit while Cleveland meets Chicago six more times. The White Sox lead the Tigers by three games.