(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Twins hope to put an embarrassing series loss in the past when they open a three-game set against the Cincinnati Reds Monday at Great American Ball Park.
The Twins lost two of three matchups against the lowly Milwaukee Brewers this weekend at Miller Park and dropped a 5-3 decision Sunday.
Casey Fien was on the hill in the eighth inning with the score tied at 1-1 and gave up two-run homers to Ryan Braun and Adam Lind. Torii Hunter's two-run shot in the Minnesota ninth wasn't enough and the club lost for the fifth time in the last eight tries.
Minnesota wasted a strong effort from starting pitcher Tommy Milone, who allowed just two hits over six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and three walks.
"He was solid," Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Milone. "He put up a lot of zeroes for us and gave us a chance. I was hoping when he came out of the game, we could get him a run and maybe get him a win. It was looking good, but the Brewers have played us tough."
The Twins will also visit rival Kansas City for four games on this 10-game trek and hope Mike Pelfrey can pitch them back on track Monday. Pelfrey is 5-4 with a 3.06 earned run average in 14 starts and is winless (0-2) in his previous three outings.
Pelfrey was dealt the loss in Tuesday's 6-2 defeat against the Chicago White Sox and allowed three runs and 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings. He is 1-3 in his last four decisions. Pelfrey has faced Cincinnati eight times (7 starts) in his career and is 4-2 with a 5.09 ERA.
Cincinnati was swept in three games this weekend by the New York Mets at Citi Field. The Reds lost the continuation of Saturday's canceled game by a 2-1 score in 13 innings and were handed a 7-2 setback in the finale.
Steven Matz made hid MLB debut for New York and pitched 7 2/3 innings of two- run ball, while going 3-for-3 at the plate with four RBI. Josh Smith made the start for Cincinnati and allowed three runs (1 earned) in five innings.
Todd Frazier hit his 25th home run and is second in the majors in long balls. Brandon Phillips also went deep before exiting the game with multiple hand injuries. Phillips is day-to-day and batting .287 with five homers and 30 RBI.
"It was kind of a combination," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He had a problem with the left hand on a swing. I think he was going to be able to play through that. But then on his right hand when he went back in to try and tag (Curtis) Granderson at second, he got his hand jammed on that play. Right now, both hands are probably on ice."
The Reds will play the next six games at home versus Minnesota and Milwaukee, and are slated to send Mike Leake to the mound Monday. Leake is 5-4 with a 3.91 earned run average in 15 starts and has won back-to-back starts. He improved to 3-0 in his past five appearances in Wednesday's 5-2 win at Pittsburgh and held the Pirates to two runs in seven innings.
Leake, who tossed seven scoreless innings in a 5-0 win over Miami on June 19, has made one career start against the Twins, tossing eight innings of two-run ball for a no-decision.
Cincinnati and Minnesota are meeting for the first time since 2012, when the Twins took two of three matchups in the Queen City. The Twins are 10-8 all- time against the Reds.