The Indians haven't been more than two games over or under .500 since July 20. Although Cleveland is very much alive in the American League playoff chase -- 4 1/2 games behind the Tigers and Mariners in the race for the second AL Wild Card spot -- time is running out for the Tribe to make a big run.
Tuesday's come-from-behind, 7-5 win over the Twins put the club back to two games over .500, a victory that the Indians hope will be the start of a late postseason push much like the one they made to earn a Wild Card berth in 2013.
The Tribe will send left-hander T.J. House to the mound on Wednesday against Minnesota. House has pitched well, having not allowed more than three earned runs in his last seven starts.
One of those starts was his only career outing against the Twins, on July 21. He gave up three runs on six hits while walking three and striking out two in a five-inning no-decision.
In his last start, against the Reds in Cincinnati on Aug. 7, House allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits, yielding one walk and fanning five over six innings in a loss. After that game, House spoke to the Indians' inability to get any real traction to pull themselves above .500.
"With any team," House said, "when you have that .500 level where you're kind of just hanging around and kind of waiting to see what's going to happen, it's a little tough. I think getting that streak going is going to be the key.
"When it happens, I think it's going to explode and we're going to take off. But we've got to get to that level where we're going to be able to consistently go out there and play good games."
House's counterpart on Wednesday, Ricky Nolasco, intends to make sure no part of any late-season surge by Cleveland takes place on his watch.
The veteran right-hander made his first start after a stint on the disabled list with a strained right elbow last Friday against the Royals. He surrendered five runs on seven hits over six innings in a 6-5 loss, another rough outing in what has been a rough first season with Minnesota for Nolasco.
"We need to get results out of him," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We need to see him get stronger and more consistent and give us a chance. It's been a rough one to this point with some health problems."
Indians: Raburn to DL, Holt up from Columbus
Utility man Ryan Raburn was placed on the 15-day DL with a sore right wrist on Tuesday. He sustained the injury when he made a sensational diving catch in the fifth inning of a 1-0, extra-inning loss to the D-backs last Wednesday.
"When I dove for that ball, it just really lit it up," Raburn said of his wrist on Tuesday. "I think more than anything, we're trying to give it a break and calm it down."
That instance wasn't the first time this year Raburn had injured the wrist. He also hurt it when he crashed into the wall during a Spring Training game against the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz.
Raburn has struggled this season, batting .191 in 188 at-bats. In 2013, he batted .272 with 16 home runs and 55 RBIs in 87 games.
"It might have something to do with it," he said of the wrist. "I wish I could pinpoint exactly, but I've always been the guy that, if I can get on the field, I'm going to play. There's a lot of guys not at 100 percent. Whether or not that had everything to do with it, your guess would probably be as good as mine."
Outfielder Tyler Holt was recalled from Triple-A Columbus to fill Raburn's roster spot. The 25-year-old went 1-for-2 with the go-ahead two-run double in his first game back with the Tribe, a 7-5 Cleveland win.
He is in his fourth stint with the club. In 98 games between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus this season, Holt posted a .305/.416/.382 line with 22 extra-base hits, 31 stolen bases, 66 walks and 74 runs scored.
Twins: Kelly works with Vargas at first
Former Twins manager Tom Kelly was working with rookie Kennys Vargas on his defense at first base prior to Tuesday's game against the Indians at Target Field.
Vargas has made 14 starts as the designated hitter and three at first base since being called up from Double-A New Britain on July 31. With New Britain, he played in 81 games at first base.
"It was a good session," Gardenhire said. "I called TK and asked him to come out here. He worked with Vargas in the Minor League system, so we wanted to make sure he was seeing the same things with his footwork and arm action. So it was nice and Kennys got a lot of work in.
"It's his arm angle [that needs work]. He's dropping it down and the ball is moving all over the place. And some footwork. But it's about protecting his arm. Some of the throws he's making, he can hurt his arm if he throws that way consistently. So he needs better mechanics."
• Yan Gomes is 2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs in his career against Nolasco. Mike Aviles is 5-for-8 with a double, a homer and three RBIs against the right-hander.
• Tuesday's win was Cleveland's eighth in its last 10 games against Minnesota at Target Field.
• Brian Dozier's next stolen base will be his 20th of the season, which would make him the sixth player in Twins history to have 20 home runs (he has 20) and 20 stolen bases in the same season. He would join Larry Hisle, Kirby Puckett, Marty Cordova, Corey Koskie and Torii Hunter (twice).
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.