The Cleveland Indians didn't look like a playoff contender throughout much of their homestand. After snapping a six-game losing streak with a spirited rally, the Indians look to continue their positive momentum when they open a nine-game road trip against the Minnesota Twins on Monday. Michael Bourn ripped the go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning as host Cleveland overcame a five-run deficit to record a 6-5 triumph over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
The Indians reside seven games behind American League Central-leading Detroit and four in back of Oakland in the race for the second wild card. While not in playoff contention, Minnesota has won seven of its 11 games in August, including three of four against the Chicago White Sox this past weekend. Brian Dozier belted a three-run homer and Joe Mauer also went deep in a 5-2 victory on Sunday.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, STO (Cleveland), FSN North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Danny Salazar (1-0, 3.29 ERA) vs. Twins LH Andrew Albers (1-0, 0.00)
Salazar struck out 10 in 7 2/3 innings, but a pair of homers - including a mammoth shot by Miguel Cabrera - led to a no-decision against Detroit on Wednesday. The 23-year-old Dominican fireballer fanned Cabrera three times prior to the blast. Salazar was impressive in his major-league debut on July 11, allowing one run on two hits over six frames in a 4-2 victory over Toronto.
Albers sparkled in his major-league debut, scattering four hits in 8 1/3 innings en route to a 7-0 triumph over Kansas City on Tuesday. "It's hard to put into words, but it was special to go out and have that kind of performance in your debut," the 27-year-old said. The first major-league player from Saskatchewan since Terry Puhl retired in 1991, Albers set down 15 straight batters at one point in his outing.
1. 1B Justin Morneau has belted six homers to fuel the Twins' surge this month.
2. Cleveland SS Asdrubal Cabrera, who was ejected for arguing balls and strikes on Sunday, went 1-for-13 against the Twins from July 19-21.
3. Minnesota traded INF Jamey Carroll, 39, for cash considerations or a player to be named following Sunday's contest.
PREDICTION: Indians 4, Twins 3