After going the first two months of the season without winning a series of three games or longer, the Minnesota Twins look to take their third straight series as they finish their four-game set with the Texas Rangers on Sunday afternoon at Target Field.
With a victory today, the Twins will take three out of four from the defending American League champions and, depending on how the Cleveland Indians fare against the New York Yankees, can cut their deficit in the American League Central nearly in half. Minnesota found themselves 16.5 games out of first place prior to the start of their series with the Kansas City Royals on June 2. A Twins' victory and an Indians loss today would cut that number down to nine. A Minnesota victory today would also give them just their second series victory of any length at Target Field this season. . .their only other home series victory came in an abbreviated two-game set against the Indians on April 23 and 24.
The Twins' offense got going early on Saturday, chasing Rangers' started Colby Lewis after just 1.1 innings pitched and putting up six runs in the first two innings on the way to an 8-1 victory. Delmon Young had three hits and drove in a pair, Alexi Casilla continued his hot streak with three hits of his own, and Ben Revere added two more hits and a pair of spectacular catches in center field.
The Rangers will be handing the ball to lefty Matt Harrison (5-5, 3.48 ERA) this afternoon. The Rangers were unsure if Harrison would be able to pitch today, as he is battling a kidney stone that still has not passed. In his last start, Harrison got shelled, allowing four runs on eight hits in just four innings of work in an 8-1 Rangers loss to the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday.
The Twins will go with left-hander Francisco Liriano (3-6, 5.20 ERA). Liriano has had a lot of ups and downs this year. . .look no farther than the fact that he's thrown a no-hitter this year, yet still has an ERA above five. Liriano has pitched well of late, however, giving up a total of just three earned runs in his last three starts. In his last start, he was a hard-luck loser, as he allowed just one unearned run, but that was the difference as the Twins fell to the Indians 1-0 on Tuesday at Progressive Field.
First pitch for this one is scheduled for 1:10 PM Central time. Twinkie Town already has their Game Thread set up, so you can get in on some virtual tailgating before today's baseball action gets underway. As always, we will have your recap for you when the game is over.