CLEVELAND — Brian Dozier moved into elite company, matching a record held by Twins Hall of Fame slugger Harmon Killebrew.
He’d gladly swap any history for a win.
Dozier homered on the game’s first pitch, but the Twins dropped their 12th straight game Tuesday night, 5-4 to the Cleveland Indians.
With his 12th home run in August, Dozier tied Killebrew’s team mark for the most homers in any month. Killebrew hit 12 homers in July 1969, when Dozier guessed the Twins weren’t falling the way they are now.
“I guess you can take one little positive out of it,” Dozier said. “That’s pretty cool, one of the best Twins players of all time. I’m very undeserving of being mentioned in this thing. It’s all about wins, not how many homers you hit in a month. You look up and there’s 12 straight losses. I’ll trade those for 12 wins anytime.”
Francisco Lindor drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning off Alex Wimmers (0-1), helping the Indians survive another poor start by Josh Tomlin, who may soon be dropped from the rotation.
Rajai Davis hit a three-run homer off Andrew Albers in the second and Jason Kipnis added a solo shot for Cleveland, which trailed 4-1 after the Twins chased Tomlin in the second.
Minnesota’s current slide is the third longest in club history. The Twins lost 13 straight in 1961 and a team-record 14 consecutive games in 1982.
The Twins, who haven’t won since Aug. 17, hurt themselves with eight walks and they didn’t score after the second inning.
“Too many walks,” Dozier said. “You can’t give stuff away, especially against a good team. This is the big leagues. You can’t give away stuff like that.”
With runners at first and second in the fifth, Lindor barely missed hitting a three-run homer when his shot caromed high off the wall in left-center. Davis scored easily from second, but Kipnis was thrown out at the plate by shortstop Eduardo Escobar, who made a perfect relay.
The Twins threw out one runner at home and two at third, but dropped their fifth one-run game during their slide.
Down 4-1, the Indians, who had scored one run or fewer in seven of the past eight games, tied it on Davis’ three-run shot off Albers, who didn’t get out of the third. Abraham Almonte doubled and Chris Gimenez walked before Davis connected on his 12th homer, a shot to left that bailed out Tomlin.
Tomlin was in trouble on his first pitch, with Dozier driving it into the seats for his 31st homer. The Twins made it 2-0 on Miguel Sano’s RBI single and they added two more in the second on RBI singles by Joe Mauer and Trevor Plouffe.
But before long, the Twins were down again and on their way to another loss.
“You like the feeling when your team has when you jump out 1-0 on the first pitch,” manager Paul Molitor said. “It was nice to get to out early, but to relinquish the lead so quickly after we worked hard to get it, it’s a little frustrating.”
Mauer’s second-inning single was his 202nd career hit against the Indians, moving him past Kirby Puckett as the Twins’ all-time leader against Cleveland.
Twins: RHP Trevor May (strained back) will throw a bullpen session at Target Field on Wednesday. He has been on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 7.
Twins: Pat Dean makes his second start since being recalled Aug. 12. The right-hander lasted just three innings in his previous start, allowing six runs and eight hits in a loss to Toronto.
Indians: Making a run at his second AL Cy Young Award in three seasons, Corey Kluber (14-8) starts the series finale. He hasn’t lost since July 3, going 6-0 in his last nine starts. Kluber led the AL with 16 losses last season.