Originally posted on Fox Sports North
By ASSOCIATED PRESS  |  Last updated 8/13/13
Home runs have powered the Minnesota Twins' recent surge. Superb pitching, however, is the main reason they're on the verge of their longest home winning streak in 14 months. That successful combination may be on display again Tuesday night as the Twins go for another victory over the struggling Cleveland Indians. Minnesota (53-63) has won four of five games thanks to the long ball, as all 22 of their runs have scored via 13 homers. That trend continued Monday, when Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe connected to power a 3-0 win in the opener of this three-game series with Cleveland (63-56). Dozier is hitting .327 with a 1.101 OPS in August after entering the month with a .231 average and .685 OPS. The Twins have had to rely on the long ball, as they're 3 for 43 (.070) with runners in scoring position over their last five contests. They're hitting .215 overall in the last four home games, but the pitching staff has picked up the slack to win each of those behind a 2.03 ERA. Andrew Albers turned in the latest gem Monday, throwing a two-hitter in just his second major league appearance. "We saw how pitching is supposed to be done," manager Ron Gardenhire said. Minnesota will try to keep it going by giving the ball to Samuel Deduno (7-5, 3.38 ERA), who has won both of his home starts against Cleveland, allowing three runs and five hits in 14 innings. The right-hander will look to help the Twins win a fifth straight home game for the first time since May 28-June 9, 2012. Deduno was 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA in his previous four starts before a rough outing Wednesday at Kansas City. Though he didn't walk a batter for the first time in 2013, he gave up a season-high 12 hits and four runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 5-2 loss. He had completed at least six innings in each of his previous nine outings. The Twins have won nine of their last 11 home meetings with the Indians behind a 1.89 ERA in those victories. Cleveland, meanwhile, has dropped seven of its last eight overall while its rotation has a 6.00 ERA. If he pitches anything like he did Thursday against Detroit, Zach McAllister (4-7, 3.90) won't help lower that mark. The right-hander lasted just 2 1-3 innings, allowing four hits, four walks and six runs in a 10-3 loss. "I just got out of sync," McAllister told the team's official website. "I felt good, felt like the ball was coming out the way I wanted it to. I just wasn't able to command it. "I wasn't able to make the adjustment that I needed to get back into it and get outs when I needed to." He hasn't fared any better against Minnesota, going 0-3 with an 8.00 ERA during three starts in which he's lasted a combined nine innings while allowing 24 baserunners and three homers. Josh Willingham is 4 for 4 with two homers off McAllister, while Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau are a combined 5 for 11.
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