MINNEAPOLIS -- Cleveland's starter didn't make it to the fourth inning for the second straight night in Saturday night's game. But unlike in Friday's series opener, the Indians' offense wasn't strong enough to negate a bad outing.
Zach McAllister was knocked out after three innings, while Minnesota starter Cole De Vries baffled Cleveland for six shutout innings. The Indians only managed four hits and failed to stage a rally, dropping a 3-0 result to the Twins at Target Field.
The loss marked the ninth time the Indians have been shut out this season and the second time in Minneapolis.
"Offensively, we couldn't score any runs," manager Manny Acta said. "We struggled with their kid [De Vries] once he started throwing breaking balls for strikes. We hit a lot of fly balls with the wind blowing in. We couldn't string any type of offense."
Cleveland squandered an early opportunity in the first inning before De Vries managed to settle in. Shin-Soo Choo recorded a leadoff single and Jason Kipnis followed by drawing a walk, putting runners on first and second for Asdrubal Cabrera with no outs. But Cabrera struck out and Carlos Santana grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
The Indians managed only three more baserunners all night.
"I was frustrated, which is a little bit of an understatement, after those first two batters," De Vries said. "I just had no idea where my fastball was going. So I really tried to bear down on Cabrera and Santana. I knew if I executed a good pitch -- Santana is pretty aggressive -- I could maybe get an out or a double play. So that was my goal and it worked out."
Both of Minnesota's runs against McAllister came in the third, as Ben Revere started the trouble with a one-out single. McAllister hit Jamey Carroll, then surrendered an RBI single to Joe Mauer. Carroll then came in to score on Josh Willingham's sacrifice fly.
Justin Morneau then earned a walk on the 13th pitch of his at-bat against McAllister, loading the bases for Ryan Doumit. Doumit saw 12 pitches of his own before flying out to finally end the inning.
McAllister normally has a knack for strikeouts, as he entered the day with an average of 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings. But he struggled to put hitters away on Saturday after experiencing the same issue in his last start against Texas on Sept. 2. McAllister struck out only four of the 27 batters he faced in allowing seven runs to the Rangers over five innings.
"He's not finishing guys off," Acta said. "You need to have a swing-and-miss pitch, and over the last couple outings he hasn't been able to have it. It's up in the zone. It's easier to handle for hitters. They're fouling a lot of pitches off."
By the end of the third inning, McAllister's pitch count had already run up to 87 -- high enough for Acta to send Chris Seddon out to start the fourth. It was the second-shortest outing of McAllister's season. Minnesota may have McAllister's number, as his shortest outing was a 1 2/3-inning effort in a 14-3 loss to the Twins on Aug. 6.
McAllister said he was a "little bit" surprised to get the hook after three innings.
"I knew I threw a lot of pitches that inning previous," he said. "Just something I tried to talk him [Acta] into letting me go back out, but he said that was it. You can't do anything about it other than try to go and pitch better.
"That's not my call. If I would have got quicker outs I would have been able to go back out there, but I didn't pitch well enough to go back out."
The Twins added another run in the fifth after Seddon loaded the bases and Scott Maine walked Justin Morneau to force in a run.
Still, the performance by the five-headed monster of Seddon, Scott Maine, Frank Herrmann, Tony Sipp, and Scott Barnes was a bright spot in the defeat. The five-man bullpen combined to throw five innings, allowing one run on five hits and two walks.
The only Indians to collect hits were Shin-Soo Choo (two singles), Jack Hannahan and Russ Canzler. Choo is hitting .370 (20-for-54) against the Twins this season, while Canzler has reached base in all six of his games with the Tribe.
Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.