Bruce Chen gets first start for Indians against Twins
With a boost from Torii Hunter, the Minnesota Twins continued their hot hitting in the opener of their six-game road trip.
The Twins will try to keep rolling at the plate Saturday while spoiling Cleveland Indians left-hander Bruce Chen's return to the majors.
Hunter went 4 for 4, homered and drove in four runs in a 9-3 victory Friday. The Twins' 13 hits gave them double digits in eight of the last 11 games.
Minnesota (17-13), winners in nine of those contests, are batting .316 with 78 runs in that stretch. The Twins have also won 16 of 23 since their 1-6 start.
"The first seven games it wasn't us," Hunter said. "We were down, but we found our groove. We started playing Twins' baseball."
Hunter, batting .441 with three homers and 11 RBIs in eight games this month, will try to keep Chen from winning in his first major league start since July 27, 2014. The left-hander took a 10-3 loss to Cleveland in that game for Kansas City.
Chen, who turns 38 next month, was released by the Royals in September and signed a minor league contract with Cleveland in February. He went 2-1 with a 1.74 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Columbus and is getting this chance after left-hander T.J. House went on the disabled list because of an ailing shoulder.
"When I told (my daughters) that daddy was going back to the big leagues, that was one of the greatest moments as a father, to tell your kids. Then I told my (parents)," Chen told MLB's official website. "I'm very grateful for this opportunity."
Chen is 5-6 with a 5.42 ERA in 13 career starts against Minnesota, including 1-1 with a 10.38 ERA in his two last season. He gave up six runs in 3 2-3 innings in his lone start at Target Field in 2014 and is 1-3 with a 9.68 ERA in his last four there.
Minnesota's Phil Hughes (1-4, 5.02) is hoping to see some more generous run support after receiving his first win of the season Monday with an 8-7 victory against visiting Oakland. The right-hander gave up season highs of five runs and nine hits in six innings, but was put in line for the win with Hunter's three-run homer in the sixth.
Hughes took a 4-2 loss to Cleveland on April 18, allowing four runs in 6 2-3 innings, and is 0-1 with a 5.27 ERA in his last two matchups. He was 4-1 with a 2.37 ERA in his first six starts against the Indians.
Hughes will try to lead the Twins to their first four-game road win streak since July 2013. Minnesota is also seeking a fourth consecutive victory overall.
Hunter is 6 for 27 in his career versus Chen and batting .233 (10 for 43) versus left-handers this season. Trevor Plouffe has seven hits in his past 16 at-bats against the veteran -- six for extra bases.
Roberto Perez went 3 for 3 with a solo homer in the win over Hughes earlier this season. He's 5 for 7 lifetime against the Twins starter.