Preview: Twins vs. Mariners
MINNEAPOLIS — A strong showing during their 10-game road trip got the Minnesota Twins back on track after a frustrating opening month.
Now they’ll try to keep that momentum going when they return to Target Field on Monday night to kick off a nine-game homestand with a makeup game against the Seattle Mariners.
Minnesota had dropped 12 of 15 — including eight in a row at one point — after a freak blizzard wiped out the last three of a four-game set against the White Sox midway through the month.
They went on to drop the road trip opener at Chicago but bounced back with five straight victories before splitting a four-game series during the weekend in Anaheim, where two of the games — including Sunday’s series finale — went into extra innings.
The Twins are still two games below .500 (17-19) but trail the American League Central-leading Indians by 1 1/2 games and got a boost as outfielder Byron Buxton returned to the lineup after he missed 21 games because of migraines and a fractured toe.
Minnesota could get even more help this week as third baseman Miguel Sano worked out with the team as he rehabs from a strained left hamstring.
“We’ll see how the next couple of days go,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Hamstrings make me a little nervous. We’ll have to decide on what we feel he needs to do to prove that he’s ready.”
Jake Odorizzi gets the start as he looks to extend a two-game winning streak. He has a 2.76 ERA in his last three games and held the Cardinals to a run and two hits in five innings his last time out.
LeBlanc only threw 59 pitches in his last outing and has held opponents to a run and seven hits in nine innings in two starts but didn’t take a decision in either outing.
The Mariners are 6-6 since the start of May and come into the game 22-17 after dropping two of three at Detroit during the weekend, including a 5-4 loss Sunday afternoon.
Seattle lost not only the game but also second baseman Robinson Cano, who fractured a hand when he was hit by a pitch.
“I knew right away,” said Cano, who was wearing a soft cast after the game and will likely need surgery. “It’s kind of the same feeling when I broke my pinkie toe in Japan (during an offseason tour in 2015). I knew right away.”
Mariners manager Scott Servias has not decided on Cano’s replacement but does plan to keep Dee Gordon in the outfield.
“It’s a freak accident and those things do happen,” Servais said. “I don’t know how long he’s going to be out, or where we’re headed there. It certainly hurts: he’s a middle-of-the-lineup guy. But we need to have guys step up. We’ve overcome some things before. It’ll be a little obstacle, but guys will regroup, step up and keep moving forward.”
The game was originally scheduled for April 8 but was postponed because of inclement weather. After Monday’s game, Minnesota hosts St Louis for two games and Seattle returns home to open a six-game homestand Tuesday against Texas.