Blue Jays-Twins Preview
The Minnesota Twins will seek to continue their turnaround when they finish their first homestand, but they haven’t fared well in recent matchups with the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Twins look for just their sixth win in 26 meetings with the Blue Jays on Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series.
Minnesota dropped six of its first nine and was swept in three by Oakland in the opening series of a nine-game homestand. The Twins, though, followed with three straight wins over Kansas City, including 4-3 on Sunday.
"One of our goals this season is to win at home and get our fans back to watching good baseball at home," manager Ron Gardenhire told the team’s official website. "We want to play well here. We owe it to our fans."
Gardenhire’s club, though, has lost 20 of 25 to Toronto (7-6) and 17 of 21 home matchups since the beginning of the 2008 season. The Twins (6-6) were swept in three games during the only visit from the Blue Jays last season Sept. 6-8 and dropped five of six overall meetings.
The Blue Jays head into this series after nearly sweeping Baltimore to open a nine-game road trip. Toronto fell 2-1 in 12 innings Saturday before responding with season highs in runs and hits in Sunday’s 11-3 rout.
Melky Cabrera extended his season-opening hitting streak to a franchise-record 13 games by getting two of the Blue Jays’ 17 hits. Jose Bautista, who has reached base in all 13 games, and Colby Rasmus each homered and drove in three runs.
Rasmus, though, left after the sixth inning because of a tight left hamstring, and second baseman Maicer Izturis needs surgery for a tear in his left knee and could be out for the rest of the season.
Cabrera has hit .328 with four home runs during his hit streak, but the Blue Jays were batting .209 before Sunday. They’re now hitting .228.
"We figured it was a matter of time and we knew it was going to happen," manager John Gibbons said. "We know we have a good lineup."
The Blue Jays are scheduled to face Phil Hughes, who is seeking his first win with Minnesota. Hughes (0-0, 7.20 ERA) has given up four runs over five innings in each of his two starts and allowed all of those runs Wednesday in the first inning of a 7-4 loss to Oakland in 11.
While with the New York Yankees, Hughes went 5-6 with a 5.02 ERA in 20 starts against Toronto. He was 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA in four outings last season while receiving just four runs of support.
Former teammate Cabrera is 1 for 3 against Hughes while Moises Sierra is 7 for 12. Edwin Encarnacion, who went 3 for 4 with two RBIs on Sunday, is 12 for 34 (.353).
The Blue Jays will send out Brandon Morrow (1-1, 5.73), who earned his first win Wednesday against Houston. The right-hander gave up three runs over six innings and struck out nine in a 7-3 victory.
Morrow is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts against Minnesota, with the most recent Oct. 3, 2012.