Minnesota’s Scott Baker has been dominant at home for more than
a month. He’s also been pretty good against the Tampa Bay Rays of
The right-hander looks to continue his success at Target Field
while trying to help the Twins to a third consecutive victory
Tuesday night against James Shields and the Rays.
Baker (6-5, 3.15 ERA) has not allowed a run in his last 16 1-3
innings at Target Field after he yielded six hits and struck out
nine over 7 1-3 of a 1-0 win over the Dodgers on Wednesday. He has
surrendered just one run and struck out 32 in 31 1-3 innings while
going 3-0 in his last four home starts.
“He’s confident and he’s attacking,” manager Ron Gardenhire
said. “I don’t think he worries about too much out there. He just
goes and attacks.”
Baker has a 1.89 ERA while winning four of five starts
“I’ve really felt good the past four or five outings and three
of them happened to be at home,” Baker said. “I’m making good
two-strike pitches right now and been able to finish some hitters.
If I do that I feel pretty good about it.”
Baker is 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in his last three starts against
the Rays (47-38). He allowed one run and four hits in seven innings
of a 4-3 loss at Tropicana Field on April 16.
He will try to help the Twins (37-46) stay hot after they
snapped a five-game home skid to Tampa Bay with a 7-0 win Monday.
Brian Duensing tossed a six-hitter, Danny Valencia hit a three-run
homer and Michael Cuddyer added a solo shot for Minnesota, which
has won five of six after losing six in a row and 20 of 29
Valencia has hit .529 (9 for 17) with two homers and nine RBIs
in his last four games. Cuddyer, headed to his first All-Star game
next week, is batting .429 (6 for 14) with two homers and five RBIs
over the last four.
Cuddyer’s hit .400 (6 for 15) with two doubles and a home run
against Shields (8-5, 2.45), who will be joining him on the AL
After giving up just one earned run while recording three
straight complete-game victories, Shields surrendered four runs and
struck out 10 in seven innings of a 4-3 loss to Cincinnati on
“I think I was two pitches away from having a shutout,” Shields
said. “It’s kind of the way the game works between giving up no
runs or four runs.”
Shields is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA in his last three starts against
the Twins. He allowed two runs in seven innings of a 4-3, 10-inning
victory over Minnesota on April 14.
Casey Kotchman had two hits Monday for the Rays, who had
averaged 8.8 runs in their previous five games in Minnesota. Tampa
Bay has lost four of seven after winning eight of nine.
Kotchman continues to fare well at the plate, hitting .351 in
his last 15 games. He’s batted .462 (6 for 13) over his last three
games at Target Field.