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Twins Look For A Series Victory In Toronto

(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Twins once had bragging rights in the American League Central Division, but now they're just trying to save face in the standings.

The Twins will try not to look ahead to this weekend's showdown with the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers and hope to close out a three-game series tonight on a positive note against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Minnesota has dropped three of four and 10 of its last 15 contests to fall 1 1/2 games off the division lead. It can still win this series against Toronto with a victory this evening, but suffered a 6-5 setback last night when starting pitcher Kevin Slowey gave up five runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings for the no-decision. Matt Guerrier then gave up the go-ahead run in the seventh to absorb the loss.

"I felt like this was my game to win," Slowey said. "Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the job done."

Orlando Hudson hit a two-run homer and added an RBI triple, while Delmon Young cracked a solo home run for the Twins. Minnesota All-Star first baseman Justin Morneau was accidentally kneed in the head while trying to break up a double play in the eighth inning and is day-to-day. Young's status is the same after he sprained his left wrist on a collision with center fielder Denard Span.

Scott Baker will try to pitch the Twins back into the win column when he makes his 18th start of the season. Baker ended a personal two-start losing streak in last Friday's 2-1 win over Tampa Bay, as he fired seven innings of one-run ball and struck out eight batters. Baker was able to even his 2010 mark at 7-7 and lower his earned run average to 4.72.

The right-hander, who is only 1-5 in eight road starts this season, is still in search of his first triumph over Toronto. Baker is 0-3 with a 5.10 ERA in five lifetime starts against the Blue Jays.

Toronto ended a three-game losing streak Wednesday thanks to Alex Gonzalez's sacrifice fly and Vernon Wells' RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning. Gonzalez also added a solo home run and Jose Bautista recorded an inside-the-park homer and two RBI for the Jays, who won for just the second time in 10 tries.

"I thought there was a chance [of an inside-the-parker]," Bautista said. "My legs were a little heavy, but I just had to dig a little deeper."

Scott Downs was credited with the win for tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief and Kevin Gregg notched his 19th save. Marc Rzepczynski made his 2010 debut and was reached for four runs and eight hits over 5 2/3 innings.

The Jays, who are 11 1/2 games off the lead in the AL East, will hand the ball to Brett Cecil for tonight's series finale. Cecil is 0-3 with a 7.06 ERA in his last four starts since a personal five-game winning streak. He recorded a no-decision the previous time out in last Friday's 6-1 win over the New York Yankees in the Bronx. Cecil pitched six innings of one-run ball that day.

Cecil, a left-hander, is 7-5 with a 4.19 ERA in 14 starts this season and will take on the Twins for the second time in his career. He beat them back on September 10 last season by allowing two runs on seven hits in six innings of his team's 3-2 triumph.

Minnesota and Toronto split a two-game set back on May 17-18 at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays have won 16 of the past 21 matchups between the teams.

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