CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 03: Brian Dozier #20 of the Minnesota Twins slides in safely at second base under a leaping Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians during their game at Progressive Field on June 3, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
This in many ways was a repeat of Saturday's loss. And that's not a good thing.
Like Josh Tomlin, Justin Masterson gave up early runs, in this case three in the first four innings. And like yesterday, the Indians would eventually get back into the game, only to see the bullpen let the game get away again.
Masterson got into trouble in the first inning after walking Denard Span. Span stole second, and came home on Joe Mauer's single to right field. A walk led to another run in the third, as a Josh Willingham double and Justin Mornueau single off Masterson's glove brought home Mauer, who walked with one out. The Twins scored their third and final run off Masterson thanks to two infield singles, a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly. Masterson didn't really pitch all that badly, though, allowing three runs in six innings, but the few bouts of wildness he had cost him.
The Indians got back into the game thanks mainly to Twins errors. In the bottom of the fourth, Jason Kipnis reached on an error by shortstop Brian Dozier. After Asdrubal Cabrera singled with the hit-and-run play on, the Indians had runners on first and third with nobody out. Jose Lopez drove home Kipnis on a sacrifice fly, and Shelley Duncan singled home Cabrera later in the inning.
But the Indians would get no closer, as Nick Hagadone would allow two runs in the seventh, with the culprits again the middle of the Twins order. Willingham drove home a run with another double, and Ryan Doumit singled home Willingham. The Indians would score their third run in the bottom of the inning, but just to make sure they wouldn't show any designs of coming all the way back, the Twins scored again in the eighth again Trevor Plouffe hit a double off the base of the wall in left center.
The Indians, for the first time in quite a while, had a starting lineup with more right handers than left handers in it. Jose Lopez, Aaron Cunningham, and Lou Marson were in the lineup, as was Matt LaPorta, who had been recalled after Johnny Damon was placed on the Paternity List. LaPorta started at first base for Kotchman, and will probably play in left field on Tuesday if Damon isn't back. But the stacked lineup didn't do a whole lot against Diamond, who didn't give up an earned run in seven innings of work.
The Indians have now gone 2-7 since sweeping Detroit, all against the other teams in the AL Central. This was a big opportunity to make up ground in preparation for some difficult road trips, and they couldn't take advantage of it, losing three games in the standings to Chicago over the course of the homestand.