The Texas Rangers are winless in seven games at Target Field, and the Minnesota Twins will attempt to carry that forward on Friday night, as the two teams will get together for the second game of a four-game set in Minneapolis.
The Rangers came back on Thursday night thanks to the long ball, but the Twins kept scrapping away and eventually won on Alexi Casilla's two-out single in the bottom of the ninth to score Luke Hughes and give the Twins a 5-4 victory over Texas. The victory was Minnesota's seventh in their last eight games.
The Twins, who were 16.5 games out in the American League Central just a week ago, are now 11 games behind the Cleveland Indians, who have gone into a bit of a tailspin. They still have quite a ways to go in order to get themselves back into serious contention, but with so many players currently missing for the Twins, such an opportunity seems much more feasible than it might have just a week or so ago. After all, much of the current hot streak the Twins are on has been done without Joe Mauer, Jim Thome, Jason Kubel, and Tsuyoshi Nishioka, all of whom are slated to come back in the fairly near future, and with Justin Morneau not checking in at 100% due to various problems.
Tonight, the Twins will hand the ball to left-hander Brian Duensing (3-5, 4.73 ERA). In his last start, Duensing snapped a personal five-game losing streak when he put on a brilliant performance against the Kansas City Royals. Duensing pitched eight shutout innings, allowing only six hits in a game that the Twins went on to win by a final score of 6-0. The victory was Duensing's first since April 23, a stretch that saw Duensing collect five losses and two no-decisions (in games that the Twins went on to lose).
The Rangers will counter with left-hander C.J. Wilson (6-3, 3.03 ERA). In Wilson's last nine starts, the Rangers have gone win-loss-win-loss-win-loss-win-loss-win, with Wilson collecting a 4-3 record with two no-decisions in that stretch (the Rangers split those two no-decisions). In his last start, he was brilliant in allowing just three hits over 7.2 shutout innings against the Cleveland Indians, helping the Rangers to a 2-0 victory in Cleveland.
First pitch for this one is scheduled for 7:10 PM Central time tonight at Target Field. As always, head over to Twinkie Town for the Game Thread for the best conversation on the net with other Twins fans, and come back here for the recap when things have finished.