The Twins’ rotation is 7-3 with a 3.29 ERA in the last 12 games after struggling through most of June and July.
“We’ve talked about it over and over. When they get on a roll here, they can carry this ballclub,” manager Ron Gardenhire said of his staff.
Winners of 10 of 13, the Twins are a victory away from going five games above .500 for the first time since June 30. Starting with a 3-0 loss to Chicago on that date, the Twins lost 22 of 28 heading into the All-Star break.
The third-place Twins have gone 17-8 in the second half, though, putting them 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Kansas City Royals in the AL Central.
“It’s just a matter of not trying to do too much,” Lohse said. “Everyone was going out there trying to throw the perfect game.”
Jake Westbrook allowed five runs and eight hits for the Indians, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.
The Indians have struggled at the plate lately, score three runs or fewer in their last six games.
Not helping the situation is the nagging back injury to leading hitter Milton Bradley. Bradley, who leads the Indians with a .321 average, 56 RBIs and 61 runs, was a late scratch from the lineup Monday and missed his third straight game.
STANDINGS: Indians - 4th place, 13 GB, AL Central. Twins - 3rd place, 2 1/2 GB, AL Central.
INDIANS PROBABLE STARTER: Billy Traber (6-6, 4.33 ERA). Traber has won three of his last four decisions, and is coming off a 3-0 win over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday. The rookie allowed five hits in seven innings while walking two and striking out five. In his only career start against the Twins, a 9-2 win on July 26, the lefty allowed two runs and six hits.
TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Rick Reed (5-11, 4.88 ERA). The veteran righty is 0-2 with a 5.00 in his last four starts, including a 5-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday. In eight innings, Reed allowed five runs and eight hits. In 13 starts against Cleveland, Reed is 6-3 with a 3.84 ERA.
SEASON SERIES: Indians, 5-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Indians - RHP David Riske has pitched 5 2-3 scoreless innings over his last eight games. He has allowed three hits in six appearances in that span. … Cleveland has dropped five straight on the road. … C Josh Bard is 1-for-12 in his last four games. Twins - OF Jones left the game in the eighth inning Monday after aggravating his nagging groin strain when he reached on an infield single. After the game, the Twins optioned 1B Todd Sears to Triple-A Rochester and recalled OF Mike Ryan, who adds some depth to the outfield after Jones’ injury … Minnesota has opened a series with a win 20 times this season. … OF Dustan Mohr started for the second straight game Monday. His playing time has been limited since the Twins acquired Shannon Stewart from Toronto during the All-Star break. Mohr had two of Minnesota’s four RBIs in Sunday’s win over Detroit.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Indians - 20-40 on the road; Twins - 33-27 at home.
INJURIES: Indians - OF Bradley (back), day-to-day; C Victor Martinez (ankle), 15-day DL; INF Omar Vizquel (knee), 15-day DL; OF Matt Lawton (finger), 15-day DL; OF Ellis Burks (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Jason Bere (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dave Elder (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Bob Wickman (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Mark Wohlers (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Ricky Gutierrez (back), 60-day DL. Twins - Jones (groin), day-to-day; OF Lew Ford (arm), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Fetters (hamstring), 60-day DL; LHP Eric Milton (elbow), 60-day DL.