(Sports Network) - Right-hander Liam Hendriks makes his 16th try at a first major-league win tonight when the Minnesota Twins host the Cleveland Indians in the opener of a four-game series at Target Field.
An Australian who was signed as an amateur free agent, Hendriks made the big leagues last season and dropped a pair of decisions in four starts while allowing 29 hits and 16 runs in 23 1/3 innings.
He surrendered a .312 opposition batting average in that initial season and has returned to make 11 starts in his second year, allowing a .325 average while dropping seven straight decisions and posting a 6.11 earned run average across 56 innings of work.
He tossed a complete game in a 1-0 loss to Seattle on Aug. 27, then was chased after just 3 2/3 innings after giving up 10 hits and five runs while getting a no-decision in the Twins' 8-7 victory.
Hendriks got a no-decision in one career meeting with the Indians on Sept. 25, 2011, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings of a game Minnesota won, 6-4.
For Cleveland, righty Jeanmar Gomez makes a first reach at a career-best victory total in his sixth lifetime meeting against the Twins.
The 24-year-old won five times in 11 appearances with the Indians last season after winning four times in 11 games as a rookie in 2010. He got to five victories this season on Sept. 1 after allowing three runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 4-3 defeat of Texas.
He last faced Minnesota on May 14 and earned a no-decision after allowing an unearned run on three hits in seven innings of a game the Indians won, 5-4.
Lifetime against the Twins, he is 1-1 with a 3.90 ERA in 27 2/3 innings.
On Wednesday in Detroit, Miguel Cabrera homered early and the Tigers kept pace with the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central with a 7-1 win over the Indians.
Ubaldo Jimenez (9-15), who had a 7.79 earned run average in 10 starts since the All-Star break, took the loss after giving up four runs on six hits in 7 1/3 innings.
"The only thing I can do is go out there and give the best I can as long as I can," Jimenez said. "Definitely I wanted to win the game for the team and for me."
In Chicago, Alex Rios knocked in a career-best six runs on two home runs and the White Sox topped the Twins, 6-2, in the rubber match of a three-game set.
P.J. Walters (2-3), making his first start since June 13 because of a shoulder injury, surrendered six runs on five hits and three walks in five-plus innings.
"I felt like I proved that I can pitch here," Walters said. "I obviously got hurt and it set me back a little ways, but being able to come back and prove that I'm healthy and finish the year strong and help the team win some games."
The Twins have won seven-of-11 meetings with the Tribe so far in 2012, including two of three in a recent series at Cleveland from Aug. 6-8. The Indians won 11 of 18 games in the season series in 2011.