Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians are back in the basement, losers of two straight to the Twins, the latest effort a 6-4 loss Wednesday night.
Josh Willingham, a player the Indians toyed with the idea of signing this offseason, rocked the Tribe again, going 4-for-4 with a homer, four RBI, and a run scored.
“He’s a good hitter, been a good, productive hitter for years now,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “He’s done it in the past, in Florida, in (Washington) DC, last year in Oakland.”
The Twins built a 6-2 lead after six, as at that point the Indians had been outhit 11-2 by Liam Hendricks, who was 0-7 entering the contest, and relief pitcher Alex Burnett.
For Hendricks, it was his first major league win. He carried a 6.14 ERA into the contest, and it took him 18 career starts to earn his first MLB victory.
He allowed Asdrubal Cabrera a solo homer in the first to give the Indiana a 1-0 lead, but after that gave up just a single to Jason Kipnis to tie the game at two in the third.
Zach McAllister started for the Indians, and followed up his solid outing in Texas with a poor showing vs the Twins. In just 4.1 innings, he gave up four runs on eights with two walks and three K’s.
McAllister is now 5-8 on the season. Chris Seddon, Scott Maine, Tony Sipp and Frank Herrmann all threw for the Indians, a night after the team threw 10 pitchers.
Minnesota’s Joe Mauer went 1 for 4 with a walk and had an RBI single taken away when the umpires reversed a call.
Cleveland shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera homered, but left in the seventh with a sore right wrist.
Mauer hit a sinking liner to left with Jamey Carroll on second base in the eighth. Vinny Rottino made a diving catch, but third base umpire Mike Muchlinski gave a safe sign as Carroll scored.
Indians manager Manny Acta argued with Muchlinski, a fill-in ump from the minors. The entire crew huddled for a moment and Muchlinski reversed his call, ending the inning and keeping the score at 6-2.
Kipnis and Michael Brantley each singled in runs in the bottom half, but that was it for the Tribe.
The Tribe fell to 11-39 since July 26 and has dropped 11 of its last 13 at home. The Indians led the AL Central for 40 days and held a four-game advantage on May 17, but are 39-72 since.
Hendriks allowed two runs and two hits. The right-hander, who made four starts in 2011, was the fifth pitcher since 1920 to go winless in his first 17 starts, three shy of the record shared by Bill Caudill of the Chicago Cubs (1979-81) and Mike Mohler of Oakland (1993-97).
Cabrera put Cleveland ahead 1-0 with his 15th homer in the first. He later aggravated a wrist injury that caused him to miss four starts last week.
Mauer and Willingham had consecutive run-scoring singles in the third to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead.
Rottino hustled for the tying run in the bottom half. He walked, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout. He waited until shortstop Pedro Florimon fielded the ball hit by Shin-Soo Choo and threw to first, then took off and beat Justin Morneau’s throw back across the diamond. Kipnis then singled Rottino home.
Chris Herrmann made it 5-2 with a run-scoring groundout in the fifth off Chris Seddon. Willingham added an RBI single in the sixth.
McAllister dropped to 0-4 in seven starts since beating Boston on Aug. 11. In 12 starts since defeating Tampa Bay on July 16, the right-hander is 1-7.
(AP Contributed to this story)