Santana, Indians welcome last-place Tigers

With one swing of the bat, Carlos Santana helped the Cleveland Indians avert a series sweep at the hands of the American League Central leaders.

Santana and the Indians will turn their attention to the team that resides in the division's cellar on Monday when they open a four-game series against the visiting Detroit Tigers.

The All-Star first baseman belted his team-leading 21st homer with two outs in the seventh inning on Sunday, lifting Cleveland to a 4-3 win over Minnesota.

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The Indians' seventh victory in nine outings moved them to within 6 1/2 games of the first-place Twins.

"We lost the first two, but came back in the game today," Santana said. "It's great. It's positive. We're playing good baseball."

"It was nice for us to get punched in the stomach and come right back," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said, referring to the club squandering a three-run lead. "That was a good ending, too. That would've been a tough day."

Santana and the Indians have tormented the Tigers this season. Santana has gone 11-for-32 with two homers, five RBIs and seven runs scored to help his club win eight of the nine meetings.

The 33-year-old is 4-for-14 in his career against Monday starter Daniel Norris (2-8, 4.96 ERA), including a homer in the fifth inning of Cleveland's 8-3 win on June 23.

Norris allowed six runs in that contest to fall to 3-2 with a 4.37 ERA in nine career appearances (six starts) vs. the Indians.

The 26-year-old left-hander also yielded six runs against the Chicago White Sox on July 3 to fall to 0-6 during a disastrous 10-start winless skid.

Cleveland right-hander Adam Plutko (3-1, 4.95) will return from the bullpen to rejoin the starting rotation on Monday.

Plutko surrendered five runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings of a relief in a 13-0 shellacking by Baltimore on June 28.

The 27-year-old fared substantially better in his last encounter with Detroit, picking up the win after allowing three runs on five hits in six innings on June 14.

Miguel Cabrera and Brandon Dixon each belted a solo homer in the second inning off Plutko, who sports a 2-0 mark with a 3.94 ERA in five career appearances (two starts) against the Tigers.

While Cabrera is 11-for-30 in the season series against Cleveland, Dixon is just 3-for-23 vs. the Indians. Dixon, however, is 6-for-17 during his current five-game hitting streak.

Detroit looks to ride the momentum of a seven-run third inning on Sunday as it snapped a five-game skid by setting season highs in runs and hits (19) in a 12-8 victory over Kansas City.

Jeimer Candelario belted a bases-clearing double and Gordon Beckham added a two-run homer in the lopsided frame.

Candelario, however, is 0-for-7 with three strikeouts against Cleveland this season while Beckham is 3-for-15.

Niko Goodrum, who joined Harold Castro with four hits on Sunday, is 12-for-30 with six RBIs in eight games against the Indians.

"Our mindset is it's the same," Castro said after his first career four-hit performance. "We're ready for every (kind of) pitching. You have to be ready for everything."

--Field Level Media

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