One loss away from matching their third-longest road skid, the Minnesota Twins’ woes away from home could be in for a change against Colby Lewis.
The Twins will dig in against the Texas Rangers right-hander, whom they’ve hit hard in the past, when the teams conclude a three-game series Sunday.
Minnesota (36-43) has lost 10 in a row on the road and five straight overall. Little has gone well during the road slide, with the Twins batting .201 while their starting pitchers have posted a 6.71 ERA and allowed 27 runs over 24 2-3 innings in the last five.
Those struggles continued in Saturday’s 5-0 loss to the Rangers. Yu Darvish limited the Twins to four hits over eight innings with 10 strikeouts, helping Texas to its AL-leading 14th shutout, while Phil Hughes was charged with five runs in 7 2-3 innings.
An 11th straight road loss would tie the club’s third-longest skid since it moved to Minnesota in 1961. It happened most recently from Sept. 3-24, 2011.
Minnesota has also dropped 14 of its last 21 in Texas.
"It’s not been going our way as of late, but our hitting will come around," said Chris Parmelee, who is 14 for 29 during an eight-game hitting streak that started June 8. "The hitting’s kind of streaky, but we’ll get it back."
Josh Willingham is 2 for 24 with 11 strikeouts during the road losing streak, while Kurt Suzuki – third on the club with 32 RBIs – is 3 for 27.
The Twins have fared well versus Lewis (5-5, 5.94 ERA), who is 0-4 with an 8.48 ERA in six career starts against them. However, he hasn’t faced Minnesota since allowing four runs and two homers over 6 2-3 innings in a 7-2 loss on July 27, 2011.
Joe Mauer, batting .389 with nine RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak, is 4 for 8 against Lewis, while Willingham has gone 6 for 19 with three homers.
Though Lewis has struggled all season, he’s been particularly bad over his last five starts, going 1-2 with a 7.24 ERA. He gave up four runs and nine hits – including two homers – over 6 1-3 innings in Tuesday’s 8-2 loss to Detroit.
"It was one of those nights," he told the team’s official website. "I’m not going to take too much from it."
The Rangers (37-43) have followed an eight-game slide with back-to-back victories.
Adrian Beltre was 3 for 3 with his 18th double Saturday and his .414 batting average over his last 23 contests is the second-highest in baseball since June 3, trailing only Jose Altuve (.417). Beltre also has 21 RBIs in that span.
Minnesota will hand the ball to Kyle Gibson (6-6, 3.92), who limited Texas to six hits over six shutout innings in the Twins’ 1-0 loss to the Rangers on May 28.
However, Gibson tied a season worst by giving up seven runs with four hits and two walks in two innings of an 8-6 road loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. He had thrown 21 scoreless innings over his previous three outings.
A win Sunday for the Rangers would mark the third time in five seasons they’ve swept the Twins in Texas.