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Twins Looking For Second Straight Victory In Toronto

(Sports Network) - Red-hot Justin Morneau and the Minnesota Twins will try to inch closer to the top spot in the AL Central standings when they continue a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays tonight at Rogers Centre.

Morneau owns five home runs and 13 RBI in his last 15 games and went deep again in last night's 7-6 victory over the Jays in the series opener. Morneau will start in next week's All-Star Game along with teammate Joe Mauer, who also homered in Tuesday's close win. Mauer will start at catcher.

Jason Kubel hit a solo homer and scored twice, while Denard Span's RBI single in the eighth proved to be the difference for Minnesota, which won for just the second time in five tries and still sits a half-game behind Detroit for the top spot in the AL Central. The Twins also got their six-game road trip against the Jays and Tigers off to a good start.

"It was very important coming in on the road. We had a tough road trip last time, and it's nice to start off game one with a win," said Minnesota's Delmon Young, who is battling with a few other players for the final spot on the AL All-Star team.

Twins starter Carl Pavano was roughed up in the no-decision, permitting six runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Jose Mijares grabbed the win for getting two outs in the seventh and Jon Rauch later recorded his 19th save.

Kevin Slowey will handle pitching duties for Minnesota tonight and is 4-2 in his last six decisions. Slowey threw six innings of one-run ball in last Wednesday's 5-1 win over Detroit, improving to 8-5 in 16 starts to go along with a 4.57 ERA this season.

Slowey, a righty, recently beat Toronto on May 17 at Rogers Centre, where he lasted five innings and gave up three runs and eight hits in his team's 8-3 triumph. He is 1-2 with a 6.08 ERA in five career starts in this series.

Toronto has dropped three in a row and eight of its last nine games, including Tuesday's close loss to the Twins.Edwin Encarnacion went 3-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and an RBI, Dewayne Wise belted a two-run homer during a four-run fifth inning and Lyle Overbay contributed a solo blast of his own in the fifth frame.

Blue Jays starter Jesse Litsch yielded five runs, seven hits and two walks in 5 1/3 frames for the no-decision.Jason Frasor was saddled with the loss for giving up the Twins' seventh run in the eighth inning.

"Jesse pitched okay. He struggled in the sixth inning or so," said Jays manager Cito Gaston. "We scored six runs tonight -- that's enough runs to win a ball game. We just couldn't hold it."

Gaston hopes Marc Rzepczynski can reverse the club's fortunes when he toes the rubber tonight for the Blue Jays in his 2010 debut. The left-hander, who went 2-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 11 starts last season as a rookie, didn't face Minnesota in his debut season last year.

Rzepczynski was 4-3 with a 6.66 ERA in nine starts for Triple-A Las Vegas.

Minnesota and Toronto split a two-game set back on May 17-18 at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays have won 15 of the past 20 matchups between the teams.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.