Minnesota (4-4) at Cleveland (3-6)

Cloudy Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 13° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Thu Apr 15, 2004
  • TV: VICT, FSOH
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Minnesota Twins haven’t missed rookie phenom Joe Mauer, with Henry Blanco playing as well as he has.

Blanco will try to keep up his strong hitting as the Twins conclude a three-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Jacobs Field.

Mauer started the season as the starting catcher, but was injured while attempting to catch a foul ball behind the plate in the Twins’ second game of the season. Backup Matt LeCroy, primarily a designated hitter, started the next game and pulled an oblique muscle on his second swing.

Blanco was then thrust into starting lineup. The veteran catcher, a career .219 hitter, went 4-for-4 with a two-run homer on Wednesday to lead the Twins to a 10-6 win over the Indians.

Blanco, who also leads Minnesota with three home runs, raised his season average to .364.

“It feels pretty good,” said Blanco, whose four hits were a career high. “Hopefully, I can do it again tomorrow.”

The Twins have topped four runs in seven of their eight games this season, helping them to bounce back from a loss in the series opener. Minnesota took two of three from Cleveland in the first series between the teams last week.

Cleveland has lost four of five after starting the season 2-2. The Indians made three errors en route to Wednesday’s defeat.

“We’ve been catching the ball pretty good, but made too many mistakes tonight,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said.

The Indians’ slump has come despite some impressive hitting by Travis Hafner, who leads the team with a .393 average. Hafner went 1-for-3 Wednesday and is batting .571 (8-for-14) with two homers and six RBIs over his last four games.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Radke MIN vs. J. Stanford CHC
11-8 Record 0-1
3.48 ERA 0.82
143 K 5
26 BB 5
1.16 WHIP 1.55