CLEVELAND (AP)– Rain kept Cleveland from a possible three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, though the Indians still gained a half game in the AL Central race.
Despite having a 1-0 lead was washed away after two innings and waiting two hours, 55 minutes for umpires to call it, Cleveland moved within 2 1/2 games of first-place Detroit when the Tigers lost in Baltimore 8-5.
Cleveland went 4-1 on its homestand, winning two of three from the Tigers, then two in a row from the Twins.
No makeup date was announced, but manager Manny Acta knows the Indians are going to be very busy down the stretch as they try to overtake Detroit and stay ahead of third-place Chicago.
“The games are piling up,” Acta said. “It looks like we’ll probably have nine games in seven days.”
The Twins return to Cleveland on Sept. 23, when Sunday’s washout probably will be part of a day-night doubleheader — the third upcoming for the Indians.
Cleveland already must play a day-night doubleheader Aug. 23 against Seattle, a single-game makeup against the Mariners on Sept. 19, and another day-nighter on Sept. 20 against the Chicago White Sox.
Acta hopes to have second baseman Jason Kipnis and outfielder Michael Brantley back by the time the Indians play three games in Chicago starting Tuesday and then go to Detroit on Friday for a three-game weekend set.
“We still have a month and a half left, but this week’s trip is important,” Acta said. “The rest gives them some time and they should be ready to go. Otherwise we have some decisions to make.”
Brantley appeared once as a pinch runner over the past four games because of a sore right wrist. Kipnis has not played since Friday because of a sore right side.
“He did it with all that diving around (making catches) in the 14-inning game Tuesday,” Acta said.
Kipnis had his right side taped Sunday and said that he has felt discomfort when he swings the bat, but believes he should be ready by Tuesday. Cleveland has Monday off. The Indians only have two more open dates, Aug. 25 and Sept. 12, the rest of the season.
A trip to the disabled list is possible for either player as the Indians can’t afford to play short-handed with an offense already missing outfielder Grady Sizemore.
Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire actually welcomed the washout.
“In a strange way it helped us because now some guys got a day,” Gardenhire said. The Twins played the two innings Sunday without catcher Joe Mauer and outfielders Michael Cuddyer and Denard Span due to nagging aches and pains.
Ezequiel Carrera hit the second pitch thrown by Twins starter Kevin Slowey for a double. Shin-Soo Choo singled home Carrera on the next pitch for a 1-0 lead.
Cleveland recalled David Huff from Triple-A Columbus to start. The left-hander retired six straight, four on strikeouts, before it rained.
“It’s too bad because I felt I was pitching well, pitching aggressively,” Huff said. “I can’t control the weather.”
Notes: Cleveland sent OF Shelley Duncan to Columbus to clear roster room for Huff. … The Indians will open their three-game series in Chicago on Tuesday with recently acquired RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0) facing White Sox RHP Gavin Floyd (10-10). The Indians are just 1-6 against Chicago this year. Floyd gave up four hits over 7 2-3 innings in Cleveland in a 3-0 win on July 22. … The Twins open a three-game series in Detroit on Monday with LHP Francisco Liriano (8-10) opposing Tigers RHP Rick Porcello (11-7). Liriano has been hit hard by the AL Central-leading Tigers this year, going 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA. … Cuddyer remains day-to-day with a sore neck, Span is 1 for 31 since returning Aug. 2 from a concussion, and Mauer has general soreness.
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