The Minnesota Twins’ latest winning streak began in a series against the Cleveland Indians, and it could be extended against them when the AL Central rivals open a three-game set at Jacobs Field on Friday.
Minnesota (54-40), which started its seven-game winning streak with a 3-2 win over Cleveland on July 14, has a chance to match its second-longest run of the season, set from June 11-20. The Twins won a season-high 11 in a row from June 22-July 3.
Michael Cuddyer had two hits and drove in two for the Twins in a 6-4 win over the Tampa Bay on Thursday. Minnesota has won 19 of its last 24 games, and is within four games of the AL wild card-leading Chicago White Sox.
The Twins, though, are just 17-29 on the road and will play their next six against Cleveland and Chicago.
“This time of year, you have to win series,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We have to get back winning series on the road. We’ve played hard on the road. We just haven’t had the results.”
Minnesota second baseman Luis Castillo is hitting .386 (22-for-57) during a season-high 14-game hitting streak. Third baseman Nick Punto has a career-high 13-game hitting streak, and is batting .449 (22-for-49) in that span.
Carlos Silva (5-9, 6.75) will try for his second straight win against the Indians. The right-hander allowed two runs and five hits in six innings the Twins’ 5-2 win over Cleveland on Sunday. He is 3-3 with a 5.02 ERA in 10 appearances, including nine starts against the Indians.
The Twins will again face Cleveland’s C.C. Sabathia (7-5, 3.59 ERA), who had one of his better starts of the season against them. Sabathia tossed a six-hitter and struck out eight in an 11-0 win on May 24.
But Sabathia struggled in his last start against the Twins. He surrendered four runs and a season-high 13 hits while striking out seven in eight innings in a 6-2 loss Saturday. He is 7-5 with a 3.62 ERA in 19 starts against Minnesota.
Cleveland snapped a five-game skid with a 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday. The wins came over Twins’ phenom Francisco Liriano and John Lackey, who carried a scoreless streak of 30 2-3 innings before Ben Broussard homered to highlight a five-run fifth.
“You don’t like what happened in between, but to win the first one and win the last one against those two pitchers says a lot about our club,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said.
Center fielder Grady Sizemore is expected back in the starting lineup after a day off. He’s batting .545 (12-for-22) with two home runs, two triples, two doubles and four RBIs in his career against Silva.
Indians second baseman Ronnie Belliard left Wednesday with an injured left hamstring after beating out an infield single in the fifth. His status for this game is uncertain.
The Indians lead the season series 5-4.