Minnesota starter Brad Radke has been nearly unhittable in his last two outings.
He’ll look to give the Twins another strong outing as they resume their three-game series with the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
Radke allowed just three hits and struck out a season-high eight in a complete-game, 9-0 win over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday.
“He was lights out,” said catcher Mike Redmond, who spent his previous six seasons catching some of the best pitching in baseball for Florida. “The best I’ve ever caught in my career.”
Radke has pitched 10 career shutouts and 36 complete games. He has allowed just one earned run in 16 1-3 innings in his last two starts, both of them wins.
“My last two starts have been right where I want to be,” said Radke, who also threw an eight-inning complete game in a 3-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on April 19. “I have command of everything. I felt real strong out there. I kept the ball down and threw a lot of strikes.”
Radke managed to avoid trouble in the first inning, when he has often struggled.
“A lot has been written about his troubles in the first inning,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I think Rad is trying to make a statement. He pitched as good as I’ve ever seen him pitch last year. I don’t think he’s going to tail off this year.”
Radke will face Baltimore’s Erik Bedard, who won his third straight start on Wednesday. The 26-year-old left-hander allowed just one earned run and four hits, striking out a career-high 12 in eight innings of a 5-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Bedard extended his scoreless streak to 22 consecutive innings before allowing a run in the eighth inning.
The Orioles beat the Twins 3-0 in Monday’s series opener, snapping Minnesota’s four-game winning streak. The Twins, who had scored 33 runs during its four-game streak and reached double-figures in hits in six straight games, were shut out for the first time since July 11.
Miguel Tejada went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs for Baltimore, which has won four of five.
Slugger Sammy Sosa missed his fourth straight start Monday with an abscess on his left foot and is expected to miss the next two games, according to the team’s web site. Manager Lee Mazzilli said that the team has discussed putting him on the disabled list, but aren’t ready to do it now.
“It’s not responding the way you’d think it should be,” Mazzilli said. “It’s a day-to-day thing. We’ll see how it is tomorrow.”