Tribe allows 10-run inning in 10th straight loss
McAllister yields nine runs, but only two earned after Kipnis error
CLEVELAND -- The Indians had hoped a return to Progressive Field would help them get back on track after a rough road trip. As it turned out, things only got worse when they got back home.
The Indians' losing streak reached 10 games when they dropped a 14-3 decision to the Twins in the opener of a three-game series Monday night. It was the ninth stretch of at least 10 straight losses in franchise history, and the longest such streak since the Tribe dropped 11 in a row in September 2009. The club record for consecutive losses is 12, set back in 1931.
"I'm not putting the 10 games together. I'm not counting," said Indians manager Manny Acta. "I just can't wait to win a ballgame -- that's all. ... No one is happy losing, but you can't start acting like crazy and show weakness to the guys. We're upbeat."
During the skid -- which began with the Indians very much in contention in the American League Central -- the Tribe's rotation has fallen apart. The latest starting pitcher to struggle was Zach McAllister.
After McAllister worked through an easy 1-2-3 first, the Twins erupted against the right-hander in the second. Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau hit back-to-back home runs to begin the frame to put Minnesota on top, 2-1. McAllister settled in and nearly got out of the inning, but like many of his starts this season, he received little help from the defense behind him.
With two outs and runners on first and third, the right-hander got Denard Span to ground to Jason Kipnis at second. Kipnis' throw was a bit off-line to first, forcing Carlos Santana's foot to come off the bag. Span was safe, a run scored, and the floodgates were opened.
"Once the hits started coming," McAllister said, "they didn't stop. It was one of those where you just wanted to stop the bleeding, and I wasn't able to do that."
Ben Revere, Joe Mauer and Morneau followed with run-scoring hits to make it 7-1 and chase McAllister after only 1 2/3 innings. The Indians turned to former starter Josh Tomlin, who was greeted with a three-run homer from Doumit that put an exclamation point on a 10-run inning. Eight of Minnesota's runs in the frame were unearned.
"I asked one of my coaches to pinch me. I couldn't believe what was happening," Acta said. "Everything just, boom, happened. Yeah, it was kind of shocking."
McAllister's outing was the shortest of his career, and it continued a forgettable stretch for the Tribe's staff. Cleveland has allowed five or more runs in 10 consecutive games for only the seventh time in franchise history (the club record is 11 games). McAllister had gone at least 5 2/3 innings in each of his first 11 starts this season.
During the Tribe's skid, the rotation has gone 0-8 with an 11.66 ERA, lasting fewer than five innings in six of the 10 games. The staff has allowed 88 runs during this slide, the most by an Indians team during any 10-game span since August 1938.
"I don't believe in superstition," Acta said, "but I've done a few things differently and we still haven't been able to come up with at least a semi-quality start in 10 games. It's been kind of mind-boggling. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it, and I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to see that again. .... It continues to be just rough and disappointing, the way we're throwing the ball."
The large early cushion made life easy for Minnesota rookie starter Scott Diamond, who cruised through seven innings against a quiet Indians lineup. Cleveland managed only three runs on seven hits against the left-hander, and the Indians grounded into four double plays. They are 0-3 against Diamond, and they've scored only six combined runs (two earned) against him.
Carlos Santana contributed the Tribe's only RBIs with a two-run homer in the sixth.
But Monday's game, much like the losing streak as a whole, had little to do with the offense. If the Indians are going to find the win column again, they know they're going to have to do it from the mound.
"Hey, we're going out there every day, and before the fifth, we're down by 10," Acta said. "Somebody needs to go out there and give us something close to a quality start. That's all we need to do. ... Somebody needs to go out there and set the tone."
Justin Albers is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.