Twins searching for positives after rough series

Twins searching for positives after rough series

MINNEAPOLIS -- The good news is the Twins have been here before.

Following a four-game sweep at the hands of the Indians, which concluded with Sunday's 5-2 loss, the Twins are left looking for a positive spin from the weekend, and there is one: They have been in this situation before -- they were dismantled by the Astros at Target Field in a three-game set from May 29-31 -- and bounced back.

"I do think it had a similar feel, in that we couldn't muster much, and it never seemed to end," Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said. "We did rebound last time, and it's up to these guys on what we can do in terms of regrouping."

During the series against Houston, the club was outscored 40-16 in three games. The Twins followed that up by winning six of its next nine outings and posted a winning West Coast trip to put the series well behind them.

But after being surpassed in the American League Central standings by the reigning AL champions, things once again look bleak. The Tribe scored at least five runs in all four outings, and posted a plus-20 run differential over the weekend.

As a result, Minnesota relinquished its division lead for the first time since May 10, snapping a streak of 37 consecutive days of being atop the division.

"You let four games go to your chief competitor and somehow you have to get past it and learn from it," Molitor said. "I don't know if you want to use it as a measuring stick, but hopefully the guys learn what it takes to go out there, and hopefully we're better for it."

Pitching woes hurt the club vs. the Indians. Right-hander Kyle Gibson, who earned the loss, served up a pair of homers to Edwin Encarnacion on Sunday, marking the third time in as many games that a Tribe player posted a multi-homer effort.

"I think we just played a pretty good team that came in here ready to play," Gibson said. "We still have a lot of season to go."

Fortunately for the Twins, they have their top two starters in Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios scheduled to pitch in the White Sox series. After that, they have a rematch with the Indians at Progressive Field.

"We haven't been playing well at the friendly confines," Gibson said. "We will try to turn that around in the next couple days, then we get to head back to Cleveland and hopefully take a few from them there."

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis and covered the Twins on Sunday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.