What seemed like a brutal matchup for Pat Dean last week turned into his first major league win for the Minnesota Twins. Next, he faces a youngster also seeking his second career victory.
A pair of rookie left-handers square off on Wednesday when Dean and the visiting Twins hope to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics, who send Sean Manaea to the mound seeking a fifth straight win.
Oakland (24-29) extended its winning streak to four games with Monday's 3-2 victory and Tuesday's 7-4 win, pushing its run over Minnesota (15-36) to four straight.
Danny Valencia drove in three runs and Steven Vogt added three hits and two RBIs on Tuesday, with the big blast Valencia's two-run home run in the third inning. Oakland's Nos. 2-4 batters have combined to hit .465 the last four games.
''It's a good feeling we have in here,'' Vogt said. ''We're playing good, complete baseball. We're coming up with timely hitting, something we weren't doing earlier.''
They hope to keep rolling in the series finale against Dean, who earned his first MLB win when faced with a daunting assignment on Friday in Seattle.
Dean (1-1, 3.43 ERA) held the Mariners to two runs and four hits in seven innings while striking out eight in a 7-2 victory, besting former AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez. It was the rookie left-hander's second start and fourth appearance since being called up May 11.
Dean, a 27-year-old who had been in the minor leagues for seven years prior to his promotion, settled down after allowing an opposite-field homer to the second batter he faced.
He retired the next seven hitters on the way to his longest outing in the big leagues.
"I talked to him after the first inning," Twins manager Paul Molitor told MLB's official website. "To give up a home run like that, then come back and get a couple of good hitters was a good sign. I think he was able to turn the page rather quickly."
Manaea (1-3, 7.03) pitched into the sixth inning in each of his last three starts, though after logging his first win, he has lost the last two with a 5.68 ERA.
The rookie gave up three runs and nine hits in six innings of Friday's 4-1 loss to Detroit, surrendering his fifth home run in six starts while walking two and striking out four.
Still, the 24-year-old feels like he is progressing.
''My slider was non-existent my first couple of games and now it's coming around,'' Manaea said. ''The change has been huge for me and the fastball has always been there. My slider is pretty effective when I'm throwing it where I want to, and just going inside and not letting them get their hands extended.''
Oakland has won 15 of 18 at home against Minnesota.