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MIN@CLE: Asdrubal belts a two-run homer in the first

CLEVELAND -- Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera did everything they could to shake the Indians out of their funk, to no avail.

The duo combined for six hits, but they didn't get enough help, and Josh Tomlin couldn't contain the surging Twins, who beat the Tribe, 6-4, on Monday at Progressive Field.

While it was Minnesota's fifth consecutive victory, the Indians lost their fifth straight overall and seventh straight at home.

Asdrubal Cabrera got the crowd of 15,278 into the game early, putting the Tribe up, 2-0, with a two-run home run, his 12th of the season.

Tomlin gave up the lead the next inning, however, and back-to-back bunt singles in the fifth inning ultimately dealt a crucial blow.

Luke Hughes doubled to lead off the fifth, and Matt Tolbert bunted him over to third, bringing Drew Butera to the plate. The Indians' infielders were positioned to turn the double play, and Butera laid down a bunt that left Tomlin and first baseman Matt LaPorta scrambling.

"We were looking to make a double play there," Cabrera said. "We didn't think they would bunt."

Tomlin got into a lot of favorable counts against the Twins and had his slider working at times, so Butera decided he would try to surprise the Cleveland right-hander.

"It was a good situation where if I could get the bunt in past the pitcher, it'd get a run in and get them over," Butera said. "So it worked out good that I got a hit out of it."

Tomlin forced Alexi Casilla to ground into a double play, bringing home another Minnesota run, and the Twins piled on one more when Tomlin made his second wild pitch of the night.

Minnesota's small-ball approach ruined Tomlin's night. Four runs would have been enough to end Cleveland's losing streak the night before, but after the Twins' fifth, it just wasn't enough.

"Josh today was obviously hurt by the bunt play we couldn't execute," Tribe manager Manny Acta said. "That kind of opened the floodgate there."

In the second, Tomlin's first wild pitch moved runners into scoring position, which set up Tolbert's two-run single. Tomlin's slider put him ahead in the count 0-2, but one swing later, the scored was tied at 2.

"I didn't feel uncomfortable out there at any point in the game," Tomlin said. "In the second inning, I've got to do a better job of making that 0-2 pitch."

Meanwhile, the Tribe's offense continued to sputter. Facing Scott Baker (3-4) with two on and no one out in the third, the heart of the order came up with zeroes as Grady Sizemore flied out and Carlos Santana and Shin-Soo Choo both struck out.

Brantley and Cabrera combined for six of Cleveland's nine hits, as the team combined to go 2-for-22 from the cleanup spot to the nine-hole on Monday. Acta has tinkered with the lineup some but said no drastic changes would be immediately forthcoming.

"I can't have one every single day," Acta said. "You have to let some guys settle. ... We need a couple of guys to get going, and it's not a secret. We're not going to be throwing out a new lineup every time we lose a ballgame."

The Indians didn't make the most of another opportunity in the eighth, when Cabrera led off the inning with a single and Sizemore was hit by a pitch. Santana grounded into a double play, erasing himself and Sizemore. Still, the Tribe squeezed out one run when Cabrera scored on a Choo grounder that was scored a fielding error against Twins first baseman Michael Cuddyer. Choo was stranded, though, when LaPorta struck out to end the inning. The Indians stranded five batters overall.

With Tomlin's second straight rocky start, leaving those runners standing cost the Indians dearly.

Tomlin gave up six earned runs for the second straight start, but he didn't have the run support on Monday that he had in his previous outing, which Cleveland won, 13-9.

The 12 runs he has allowed in his past two starts equal his total from the previous five starts combined. Just as the Indians are fighting through a June swoon, the Twins' fortunes are headed the wrong direction.

The Twins had nine hits off Tomlin and took advantage of the righty's two wild pitches.

Losers of 10 of their past 13 games, the Indians remain in first place, but their hold on that lead is down to 1 1/2 games over the Tigers. No one in the Cleveland clubhouse has hit the panic button, but just the same, everyone is more than ready for this losing streak to end.

"You try to be supportive to everybody, you stay positive," Acta said. "Those guys in there are the ones who got us where we are, which is first place still. You just stay positive." Comments