Like most of the members of Minnesota’s rotation, the veteran right-hander has overcome a lackluster start to the season with a dominating run.
Radke opened the year 5-9 with a 5.49 ERA in his first 19 starts. However, he has helped the Twins climb back into the AL Central race by going 5-1 with a 3.32 ERA over his last eight outings.
Radke capped the run by firing a five-hitter Tuesday in a 3-0 victory over the reigning World Champion Anaheim Angels. In tossing his first shutout of the season and eighth of his career, Radke struck out four and walked one to even his record at 10-10.
“It feels good to win a game,” said Radke, whose 112 career wins tie him with Frank Viola for fourth on Minnesota’s all-time list. “I just wanted to go out there and stay in the game as long as I could and try not to give up any runs.”
Minnesota moved into a second-place tie with Kansas City in the AL Central with Saturday’s 2-0 win over the Rangers. Johan Santana pitched six shutout innings before leaving with a left hamstring injury, and Shannon Stewart drove in two runs for the Twins, who have won five of six and eight of 11.
The Twins and Royals are a half-game behind the Chicago White Sox, who beat Detroit 5-2 Saturday. Kansas City’s game Saturday against Anaheim was rained out.
Mark Teixeira had three of the six hits for the Rangers, who have dropped five straight and eight of nine. Texas is mired in their longest skid since losing eight in a row from June 15-23.
STANDINGS: Twins - 2nd place, 1/2 GB, AL Central. Rangers - 4th place, 20 GB, AL West.
TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Radke (10-10, 4.78 ERA). Radke has struggled mightily in his 15 career starts against Texas, going 2-9 with a 4.56 ERA.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: R.A. Dickey (8-6, 4.68 ERA). Dickey has been used as both a starter and a reliever this season, going 4-3 with a 4.56 ERA in eight starts. His four-game winning streak was snapped with Tuesday’s 9-2 loss to Kansas City, as he allowed six runs and six hits over 5 1-3 innings. He is making his first career start against Minnesota.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Twins - Stewart, .313 avg. and 76 runs; Torii Hunter, 23 HRs and 84 RBIs; Cristian Guzman, 14 SBs. Rangers - Hank Blalock, .311 avg.; Alex Rodriguez, 39 HRs, 98 RBIs, 104 runs and 16 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Rangers, 3-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Twins - Minnesota is just 15-14 against the AL West this season, but has won nine of the last 11 following a 10-game losing streak. … OF Stewart is hitting .346 (63-for-182) since Minnesota acquired him from Toronto on July 17, with six homers, 25 RBIs and 30 runs scored. … LHP Eric Milton, out since mid-March with a knee injury, pitched two scoreless innings for Fort Myers in the Florida State League Saturday in his first minor league rehab assignment. Rangers - 1B Rafael Palmeiro is hitting just .259 in his 27 career at-bats against RHP Radke but has two doubles, a triple, four homers and 10 RBIs. … Texas is 15-19 against Minnesota since going 12-0 against the Twins in 1999. … SS Rodriguez needs one homer to become just the second player in major league history to hit 40 homers in at least six straight seasons. Babe Ruth accomplished the feat in seven consecutive seasons from 1926-32.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Twins - 36-32 on the road; Rangers - 35-32 at home.
INJURIES: Twins - OF Lew Ford (arm), 15-day DL; RHP Rick Reed (back), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Fetters (hamstring), 60-day DL; LHP Milton (elbow), 60-day DL. Rangers - OF Juan Gonzalez (calf), 15-day DL; OF Kevin Mench (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Chan Ho Park (rib cage, oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (hip), 60-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL.