The mini winning streak Minnesota put together before the All-Star break reached three games on Friday, as the Twins opened their weekend series at home with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Indians.
The Twins closed the season's first half with a pair of wins in Yankee Stadium before this week's time off. Still, though, they have lost 12 of their last 16 contests. The Indians, meanwhile, have won four of their past five games. Cleveland will attempt to continue its ascent through the American League Central on Saturday night, when the Twins host the second of a three-game set at Target Field.
For the Twins (40-53), optimism abounds as the second half gets underway.
"The last few years, we've been on this side, trying to catch everybody and looking up at everybody," manager Ron Gardenhire said before Friday's win. "You forget about the first half and you move on from here. We've got a few new guys here. We've got some guys down there close that are on the way.
"Hopefully, we'll take off from here and put a nice little streak together. That would be a wonderful thing, to get the smiles every day back on their faces. We went through an awful lot, the last stretch probably as bad as I've been around in a long time. To win the last two was huge. Now, you forget it and you go on."
While Minnesota seeks to extend its turnaround, the Indians (51-45) are simply trying to stay the course. They're led by second baseman Jason Kipnis, who knocked a run-scoring double to the opposite field in his first All-Star Game earlier this week.
"My confidence is up right now," Kipnis said. "You obviously feel good being around those guys and getting to go through something like that. But I think I'm in the same boat as the rest of the guys in this locker room. We're excited just to get this second half underway."
Indians: Kluber hunting for more scoreless innings
• Corey Kluber will take the ball for Cleveland on Saturday. In his last outing, the right-hander limited Kansas City to three hits over 7 2/3 shutout innings, striking out eight and walking three. Over 17 games (15 starts) this season, Kluber is 7-5 with a 3.88 ERA.
• Though it's not official, the Indians are preparing for Zach McAllister to come off the disabled list in time to start Tuesday in Seattle. McAllister, who hasn't pitched for Cleveland since June 2, has dealt with a sprained right middle finger. In Thursday's rehab outing, he was able to throw his curveball, the pitch that caused the most irritation.
"What we're going to do is let him throw his side [on Saturday]," Tribe manager Terry Francona said before Friday's loss, "and then kind of make the final decision. We don't really have to do it today, and we'll see how he bounces back. We'll see how he throws his 'pen, but everything is leaning towards him pitching [on Tuesday].
"I think we're all in agreement that this is probably going to happen."
Twins: Correia going for first win in a month
• Minnesota hopes starter Kevin Correia will turn in a solid outing on Saturday. The righty is winless over his last four starts, during which time he has a 5.64 ERA with 14 strikeouts and 13 walks in 22 1/3 innings. In his first season with the Twins, Correia has a 6-6 record and a 4.23 ERA across 18 starts.
• In an effort to shake things up, the Twins recently demoted Chris Parmelee, Oswaldo Arcia and Eduardo Escobar, replacing that trio with catcher Chris Herrmann and infielders Doug Bernier and Chris Colabello. Colabello was recalled two days after appearing in the Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday. Colabello went 0-for-4 on Friday.
"Colabello has put up all kinds of numbers, and we're awful left-handed, so he's going to get some swings," Gardenhire said. "And we've already seen what our young catcher can do. He can play left or right, and he can catch, and so we like that. And Bernier has been around. He's only played a few games in the big leagues, but he can pick it."
• Though the Indians are 4-3 against Minnesota this season, the Twins have won 15 of the most recent 22 affairs with Cleveland, dating back June 2, 2012. In that period, Minnesota has outscored Cleveland, 132-90.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.