6/23/2013 1:22 A.M. ET
Parmelee spells Willingham on Saturday
By Mark Emery / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- In starting Chris Parmelee in right field on Saturday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire hoped the 25-year-old would put together quality at-bats while building confidence at the plate.
Parmelee's most recent start came in Detroit last Sunday, when he went 0-for-3 with a trio of strikeouts. In 63 games this season, Parmelee is batting .222 (40-for-180) with five home runs and 14 RBIs. The right-fielder is 7-for-38 in June.
"I just think he needs at-bats, and it's hard to get them when other people are swinging good," Gardenhire said. "He just needs at-bats. We'll see. Normally, if you're not getting hits, your confidence isn't as high as it could be. It only takes one or two hits and he'll be soaring again."
Gardenhire also thought Saturday would be a good day to sit Josh Willingham, who received a cortisone shot in his left knee a week ago. With a pair of games in Miami coming up, Gardenhire wants to make sure his backup players see action in Cleveland.
"You got to use your bench a little bit, at least in this series, and try to get him some swings, because [in the] National League, you're very limited," Gardenhire said. "You lose another player out of the lineup. You got to kind of plan ahead here, try to win ballgames and get him some swings, get some confidence going with him, too."
Parmelee has appeared at right field, center field and first base in 2013. Over 148 career games since 2011, he owns a .248/.321/.402 slash line with 14 home runs and 48 RBIs.
"It's part of the learning process," Gardenhire said. "You have to be able to accept whatever role and you have to be able to make adjustments as a player. For younger players, it's not that easy."
Twins riding seven-game home run streak
CLEVELAND -- A sixth-inning dinger from Brian Dozier didn't propel Minnesota to a win on Friday night, but it did give the club six straight games with at least one home run.
And after home runs by Joe Mauer, Oswaldo Arcia and two from Chris Parmelee on Saturday, that streak reached seven games.
Overall, there have been 14 homers in the span, during which the Twins are 4-3. Through 71 games this season, Minnesota has gone deep in 43 of them. When at least one ball goes over the fence, the Twins are 25-18.
"You just hope you can continue the pace," manager Ron Gardenhire said before Saturday's 8-7 defeat. "I'm not up there looking for home runs every night, which are always nice. But I just want consistency, and hopefully we'll be able to do that more than anything else. Consistency up and down the lineup."
Minnesota hit seven home runs during a three-game sweep of the White Sox earlier this week. Saturday's loss marked the first for the Twins in a game where they launched four big flies.
They're 3-1 when homering four times, 1-1 when homering three times, 6-3 when homering twice and 15-13 when homering once, like Friday's series opener.
"Last night didn't look very good, but we still hit a homer. We only scored one run, had five hits," Gardenhire said Saturday. "At home, it worked nice. We put the ball in the seats, and we were swinging good. You got to carry it over. I mean, last night was pretty blah."
Thomas moves up, Dozier down in lineup vs. righty
CLEVELAND -- Brian Dozier might like hitting leadoff, but that doesn't mean he's always going to get his wish. The Twins slated Clete Thomas into that spot on Saturday against the Indians.
The fact that the Tribe was facing a righty in the Indians' Corey Kluber factored into manager Ron Gardenhire's thinking. The skipper preferred Thomas' left-handed bat up top, and he didn't want to cluster his lefties at the bottom of the order, as Oswaldo Arcia and Chris Parmelee hit left-handed, too.
"Dozier hits lefties, and Clete hits righties," Gardenhire said. "As I said, I was going to flip these two around. I think they've both done a really nice job up there."
Against right-handers, Thomas owns a .296/.321/.333 slash line this season. When Dozier hits against southpaws, his numbers are .295/.385/.523.
In his last six games, Dozier is 7-for-20 with two doubles, four home runs and eight RBIs. The second baseman hit eighth in the lineup on Saturday.
"I'm seeing the ball good," Dozier said. "I do like hitting leadoff. I'm really comfortable up there."
But there was Thomas on Saturday, out in front of the Minnesota lineup. Though Gardenhire worries about too many lefties at the bottom, he doesn't have the same concerns at the top.
"You just get overloaded at the bottom," Gardenhire said. "This way, at least it mixes it up a little bit. I don't mind ever with Thomas coming up and then Joe Mauer behind him.
"But down at the bottom, that will make a difference, and I don't have enough pinch-hitters on the bench to cover people. This tries to gives you a little more balance, anyway."
Quote to note
"He's just letting it fly more. ... You'd never see him swing 2-0 in the past. He's taking rips. ... Joe's opening up a little bit more. I know he went deep, 2-0, at home. That was a high fastball, and [he] ripped that one in the seats. He's just being more aggressive. So, it's going to happen. He's almost normal."
-- Gardenhire on Mauer, who's second on the club with 58 strikeouts, but also has a .328 batting average, seven home runs and 23 RBIs entering Saturday's game
• During Casey Fien's last 10 appearances, the righty hasn't given up a run or issued a walk. In the 8 2/3 innings of that span, Fien has nine strikeouts and opponents are batting .077 (2-for-26) against him.
• Through 11 games, rookie reliever Caleb Thielbar hasn't surrendered a run. In 12 2/3 innings, the lefty has allowed five hits.
• Minnesota leads the American League with 81 double plays this year entering Saturday's game.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.