Twins-Phillies Preview

BY foxsports • June 19, 2010

An outstanding game at the plate gave the Minnesota Twins a much-needed boost, but they may have a tough time extending their momentum with Roy Halladay set to take the mound.

The Twins look to solve one the major leagues' best pitchers as they play the decisive game of a three-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.

Minnesota (39-29) came alive the plate in the later innings Saturday, rallying for five runs in the ninth and adding four more in a 13-10, 11-inning win over Philadelphia (35-31) on Saturday.

"We're known not to quit," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

The AL Central-leading Twins, who had lost four of six, fell two runs shy of their season high set in a 15-3 victory over Milwaukee on May 21.

Justin Morneau delivered two hits - one a solo homer - while adding three RBIs and three runs. The three-time All-Star went 2 for 22 (.091) with no extra-base hits over his previous six contests.

Morneau is 4 for 16 with five strikeouts against Halladay (8-5, 2.36 ERA), who has had plenty of success versus the Twins. The right-hander has gone 8-1 with a 2.73 ERA in 11 starts against them.

Halladay, though, is coming off one of his worst starts of the season. He surrendered six runs in six innings and tied a career high with three home runs allowed in an 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night.

Halladay's batterymate will likely be Brian Schneider. Philadelphia's starting catcher, Carlos Ruiz, needs additional tests after being hit in the head with a broken bat in a 9-5 loss to Minnesota on Friday night.

Ruiz is hitting .275 in 51 games.

"We didn't want to DL him because we don't think it will be that lengthy of a process," general manager Scott Proefrock told the Phillies' official website. "We're certainly hopeful it won't be."

The Phillies had a three-game winning streak snapped, but continued their hot hitting. Philadelphia has scored 32 runs in four games after averaging 2.4 over its previous 21 contests.

Veteran slugger Raul Ibanez had one of the Phillies' five home runs Saturday. He has batted .333 with two homers and eight RBIs over his last 10 games.

Ibanez has just five homers this season after hitting a career-best 34 last year.

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is 5 for 10 with seven RBIs in this series. He is hitting .320 with nine homers and 21 RBIs in 29 home games this year, compared to .228 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 35 road contests.

Utley has gone 4 for 8 with a homer and two doubles against Carl Pavano (7-6, 3.92), who is set to take the mound for the Twins. Pavano has lost three straight road starts, posting an 8.18 ERA over his last two.

The right-hander, though, has won his last two outings and three of four. He gave up three runs in seven innings of a 9-3 win over Colorado on Tuesday night.

Pavano, who has lasted at least seven innings in five consecutive games and nine of his last 10, is 5-7 with a 4.86 ERA in 20 starts versus the Phillies.