The Minnesota Twins can take their fourth series of the month with a win Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Twins drew even in the three-game set with Wednesday's 2-1 victory. In that one, Francisco Liriano -- who earlier this season was relegated to the bullpen with an 0-5 record and a 9.45 ERA -- proved that pitchers can indeed regain their stuff.
Which is good news for Thursday starter Liam Hendriks. On May 2, with a Liriano-esque ERA of 9.00, Hendriks was sent to Triple-A. He was lights-out in Rochester, going 5-0 in seven starts with a 1.94 ERA. He returned to the Twins on June 16, giving up just two earned runs in 5.0 innings. He took the loss, but it was nonetheless a step in the right direction. He'll try to build on that start with Thursday's game against the offensively-challenged Pirates, who are dead-last in the majors in runs scored.
James McDonald, 5-3 with a 2.32 ERA, will start for Pittsburgh.
The Twins are currently 8.5 games back of the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians and 4.0 games behind the fourth-place Kansas City Royals. First pitch Thursday is set for 6:05 Central.
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