Minnesota Twins at Cleveland Indians
- The Twins have won 12 of the last 15 meetings with the Indians, including six of the last eight in Cleveland, outscoring the Indians 103-56. The Indians scored at least 10 runs in each of their three wins during the stretch.
- The Indians are going for their fifth straight win tonight, which would be their longest winning streak since winning seven in a row between April 26, 2011 to May 3, 2011. During this streak, the Indians have outscored their opponents 39-5.
- Acquired in the trade that sent Francisco Liriano to the White Sox last season, Pedro Hernandez threw five scoreless innings for the Twins on Saturday, recording his first major league win in the first home start of his career.
- Justin Masterson has been able to quiet some of the heavy hitters for the Twins lately, as Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham, and Ryan Doumit have a combined seven hits in 46 at-bats against Masterson since 2010.
- After taking his first game of the season off on Wednesday, Joe Mauer will try and break out of his 3-for-33 slump that has seen his batting average drop from .393 through games of April 20 to .287. Mauer is a career .339 hitter against Cleveland.
- Ryan Raburn has 12 hits in his last 14 at bats, including four home runs, one double, nine RBI, and five runs scored. He matched a career high with four hits on Monday and then matched it again on Wednesday.
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By NOEY KUPCHAN
(AP) -- The Cleveland Indians' winning streak began with Corey Kluber on the hill.
Now, he'll try to help extend it.
Kluber squares off against Mike Pelfrey as the Indians go for their first seven-game winning streak in two years in Sunday's series finale against the visiting Minnesota Twins.
After a slow start to the year, Cleveland (14-13) has started to hit its stride. The Indians have batted .373 and outscored opponents 53-14 during it streak. They last won seven in a row April 26-May 3, 2011.
The first of these victories came thanks in large part to Kluber (2-0, 2.25 ERA). In his first start of the season, Kluber scattered seven hits and struck out six over seven innings of two-run ball as Cleveland beat Kansas City in the nightcap of last Sunday's doubleheader.
Filling in for the injured Brett Myers, Kluber retired his final 10 batters.
"He was aggressive, especially in," manager Terry Francona told MLB's official website. "He was kind of moving guys off the plate and opening up the plate. Considering how much he's been bounced around and things like that, for him to do what he did is very impressive."
Francona was also impressed with Scott Kazmir, who threw six strong innings in Saturday's 7-3 win - earning his first big league victory since Sept. 19, 2010. Jason Kipnis and Nick Swisher gave him an early lead by homering in the first inning.
Swisher, who has three homers and six RBIs in his last four matchups against the Twins (12-14), had been held out the previous three games due to a sore left shoulder.
"You don't want to show up in the lineup and not pull your weight," he said. "These guys have been on fire. As soon as you get back in the lineup you have to do your part as well."
Kipnis, who drove in a career high-tying four runs Friday, finished with three hits and two RBIs. Also coming up big were Mark Reynolds and Ezequiel Carrera, who each went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
The Indians went 5 for 7 with runners in scoring position and are batting .392 in such situations during their winning streak.
"It's about finding the outfield grass and getting the balls through," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It's not about how you hit `em and how hard you hit `em. And they did that. They popped some balls, they rolled them through."
Cleveland will try to stay hot against Pelfrey (2-3, 7.66), who continues to get hit hard. The right-hander has posted a 10.06 ERA and a .388 opponent batting average in losing three of his last four starts.
He allowed one run over five innings before giving up a three-run homer in the sixth of Monday's 4-3 loss at Detroit.
"It's better than what I've done before tonight, but it wasn't good enough," he said.
While Pelfrey hasn't been able to get on track, Gardenhire believes it's only a matter of time.
"You're talking about a guy that's missed a year of baseball and coming back from elbow surgery," Gardenhire said. "It's a process. It doesn't just happen overnight. Tonight was a step forward. The one inning, he's obviously going to be very frustrated about, but that's a step forward."
Pelfrey will be making his first appearance against Cleveland. Swisher and Drew Stubbs are a combined 5 for 12 against him.
Kluber owns a 4.60 ERA but hasn't received a decision in three career starts versus Minnesota.
Updated May 4, 2013