Minnesota's lead in the American League Central is down to 2.5 games after the Twins were rocked by the Braves for a second straight day and the Indians won.
Atlanta built a 7-0 lead Wednesday and went on to beat the Twins 11-7, taking two of three games at Target Field. Cleveland, meanwhile, shutout the Rangers 2-0, setting the stage for a massive four-game series against the Twins starting Thursday.
AL Central: Twins (70-44), Indians (67-46)
Cleveland plays a doubleheader Wednesday, and if they beat the Rangers again their deficit in the Central will be down to two games. Let's go ahead and assume Cleveland wins the nightcap. If that happens, here's what's at stake in the big head-to-head series against the Twins.
- If they split the four-game series, the Twins' lead stays at two games.
- If Minnesota wins three of four or sweeps, the lead will increase to four or six games.
- If the Indians win three of four or sweep, they'll either be tied or up by two games.
All of that changes if Texas beats Cleveland in the second game of the doubleheader.
Minnesota pitching rocked again
For the second straight game, Minnesota's starting pitcher dropped the ball. Jose Berrios got rocked for nine earned runs in Tuesday's 12-7 loss, and on Wednesday it was Martin Perez giving up six runs on 11 hits in six innings.
Atlanta jumped all over Perez with homers from Ozzie Albies and Freddie Freeman in the first inning, and they pounded him for three more runs in the third inning before Albies' second homer of the day gave them a 7-0 lead.
The Twins chipped away with three runs to cut the deficit to four, but Ronald Acuna Jr. smashed his 29th homer of the season to put the Braves up 9-3 in the eighth inning, which bloated to 11-3 with two more runs in the ninth.
Minnesota again bounced back in the ninth with an RBI single by Eddie Rosario and a three-run homer from Miguel Sano to make the final score more respectable.