Minnesota (33-22) at Arizona (31-27)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Phoenix, AZ, US
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 9:40 pm EDT Tue Jun 7, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Solid starting pitching continues to be a cornerstone for the Minnesota Twins.

The Twins look for another strong effort from Brad Radke as they begin a three-game interleague series with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Bank One Ballpark.

Minnesota starters are second in the American League, and fourth in the majors, with a 3.67 ERA. They’ve thrown six innings or more in 25 of their last 26 outings. The team’s overall ERA—bullpen included—of 3.32 tops the majors.

“That’s what carries this baseball team. Has since I’ve been here,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Minnesota emphasizes pinpoint control. The strikeout-to-walk ratio of the rotation is 5.14-to-1.

“You can count on those guys,” center fielder Torii Hunter said. “They go out there, and they hit their spots. … They don’t try to beat around the bush. First-pitch strikes. That’s what you have to do.”

Radke has allowed just three walks in 82 innings this season. The 32-year-old right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.79 ERA in his last seven outings. He threw seven strong innings on Wednesday, allowing two runs and six hits for the win in a 6-2 victory over the Indians.

“It’s just what this staff is all about,” said Radke. “That’s what this organization strives for. Guys going out there, throwing strikes and keeping the defense on their toes. Good things happen when you throw the ball over the plate.”

Minnesota has won seven of its last 10 games, including a 9-3 win over the New York Yankees on Sunday.

Michael Ryan tied a career high with three hits and drove in two runs for the injury-plagued Twins, who were without shortstop Juan Castro (ankle) and left fielder Shannon Stewart (calf). Jacque Jones went 3-for-4 for Minnesota, which finished with 14 hits.

Minnesota expects catcher Joe Mauer (groin) back in the lineup Tuesday. First basemen Justin Morneau (elbow) may also be ready.

The Diamondbacks had a five-game losing streak snapped with a 10-8 win over Philadelphia on Sunday. Shawn Green drove in a season-high four runs for Arizona, which opens a six-game homestand.

The Twins took two out of three last year in Arizona and are 3-3 all-time in the series.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Radke MIN vs. S. Estes WAS
9-12 Record 7-8
4.04 ERA 4.80
117 K 63
23 BB 45
1.18 WHIP 1.43