Twins-Diamondbacks Preview

BY foxsports • May 22, 2011

Daniel Hudson got the Arizona Diamondbacks' longest winning streak of the season underway. Now, he'll get the opportunity to extend it.

Hudson will try to pitch the Diamondbacks to their sixth straight victory Sunday as they face Francisco Liriano and the Minnesota Twins, who must quickly put a late bullpen collapse behind them going into the finale of a deeply emotional road trip.

Trailing 6-3 going into the bottom of the eighth Saturday, the Diamondbacks' streak appeared to be in jeopardy. However, Juan Miranda doubled off Matt Capps to drive in Chris Young and Miguel Montero and make it a one-run game. Four batters later, Kelly Johnson hit a grand slam off the Twins closer that lifted Arizona to a 9-6 win.

Johnson had been 0 for 4 on the night and hitting .185 on the season before his second career slam.

"It was beautiful, man,'' Montero said. "I was so happy for him. Everybody was. We all know he can hit it, and he did it.''

Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire summoned Capps when Glen Perkins exited with an oblique strain after facing one batter. Perkins will be placed on the 15-day disabled list.

"For me this is a huge setback," said Perkins, who has a 1.59 ERA in 22 games. "I don't get to play now. Hopefully someone will be able to step up.''

Arizona secured the unlikely win despite committing five errors, including one by Johnson that helped give the Twins a 2-1 lead in the fifth.

"We made some mistakes tonight but we dealt with it. Guys didn't quit," manager Kirk Gibson said.

The Diamondbacks (22-23) haven't had a six-game winning streak since an eight-game run April 4-12, 2008.

Hudson (4-5, 4.03 ERA) will try to win his fourth straight start at Chase Field. The right-hander added to his home winning streak Tuesday versus San Diego as he gave up one run and eight hits over seven innings, striking out six as Arizona cruised 6-1.

Hudson is 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA in his last five starts after beginning the season 0-4 with a 5.92 ERA,

"I had confidence early in the season but I wasn't getting the results,'' said Hudson, who lost his only career start against Minnesota in 2009, while with the Chicago White Sox.

Liriano (3-5, 6.12) will face the Diamondbacks for the first time.

Hours after news of the death of Twins Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew broke Tuesday, Liriano outpitched 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez, and Minnesota snapped a season-high nine-game skid with a 2-1 victory over Seattle.

"I think (going against Hernandez) helped me stay focused, taking it one pitch at a time, one inning at a time,'' said Liriano, who allowed one run, three hits and struck out a season-high nine in seven innings. It was his second start after tossing a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox on May 3.

The left-hander is 8-3 with a 2.80 ERA in 11 career interleague matchups, but lost his last two such games in 2010.

Danny Valencia and Jason Kubel went deep Saturday, giving the Twins (15-29) eight homers in their last three games. They homered only 18 times in the first 41 games this year.

Valencia tied season highs with three hits and three RBIs and is 6 for 13 in his last three games.

Minnesota is 3-3 entering the finale of its road trip. A victory would give the Twins their first winning trip of 2011.



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