Baltimore (67-77) at Minnesota (86-60)

Snow Currently: Minneapolis, MN, US
Temp: 16° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Fri Sep 17, 2004
  • TV: FSNO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Minnesota Twins will look to stretch their winning streak to 10 games and move a step closer to clinching the AL Central when they begin a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles.

The streaking Twins are quickly closing in on their third consecutive AL Central title. With their current surge, the Twins have reduced their magic number for clinching the division to four.

Kyle Lohse pitched seven sharp innings and Michael Cuddyer went 3-for-4 with a homer as Minnesota ripped the Chicago White Sox 10-1 on Thursday.

The Twins outscored the White Sox 26-4 in the three-game sweep.

“We’ve got tunnel vision right now,” Cuddyer said. “We’ve got one thing on our minds right now, and that’s winning games. Our pitching and defense have carried us all year, and now we’re starting to swing the bats and score some runs. It’s starting to click.”

Lohse once appeared to be the odd man out in the Twins’ postseason rotation, but he’s finishing strong, going 3-1 over his last six starts. On Thursday, he gave up one run, four hits and one walk. Lohse is competing with Carlos Silva for the third spot in the rotation behind Johan Santana and Brad Radke.

Friday’s starter Terry Mulholland will probably be moved to the bullpen for the playoffs.

Mulholland, who is 5-8 with a 5.04 ERA, has pitched poorly over the last six weeks. The 41-year-old left-hander went 3-0 in July, but he’s just 2-5 since. He’s given up 17 earned runs over his last 21 1-3 innings.

The Orioles are 2-1 thus far on their 10-game road trip.

Rafael Palmeiro homered and Rodrigo Lopez won his third straight start as Baltimore cruised to a 9-5 victory over Toronto on Thursday.

Palmeiro connected in the ninth inning for his 547th career homer, leaving him one behind Mike Schmidt for 10th place on the career list.

Lopez allowed four runs and nine hits over six innings for his fifth win in his last six starts as the Orioles won for the eighth time in their last 10 road games.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Ponson KC vs. T. Mulholland ARI
11-15 Record 5-9
5.30 ERA 5.18
115 K 60
69 BB 33
1.55 WHIP 1.59