The Minnesota Twins responded to having an eight-game winning streak snapped last week by going on another eight-game tear.
The Twins chase that elusive ninth straight win and go for a 17th victory in 18 games when they face the Milwaukee Brewers (40-41) Saturday in the second game of a three-game series.
The Houston Astros are the only team to beat the Twins in the last three weeks, 5-3 on June 21. Minnesota has gone 14-2 in interleague play and has also won 11 straight games at the Metrodome.
The Twins (43-35) showed no signs of slowing down Friday, winning the series opener 8-2 as Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter hit back-to-back home runs in the second inning and Terry Tiffee added a two-run shot in a four-run fifth.
Twins catcher Joe Mauer also hit a two-run double in the seventh inning, giving him at least one base hit in 31 of his last 34 games. His .392 batting average continues to lead the majors.
“There’s a lot of energy on this ballclub, a lot of things going on, and it’s fun to watch,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
The Twins have not won nine straight games since Sept. 7-16, 2004.
Minnesota goes up against a pitcher with a winning streak of his own Saturday, as Brewers left-hander Chris Capuano (9-4, 3.10 ERA) looks to win his fourth straight start.
“If he’s not the best pitcher in the National League, he’s in the top three,” Brewers outfielder Carlos Lee said. “Every time he goes out there, he gives you a quality start.”
Capuano has recorded quality starts in 16 of his 17 outings this season, and he is 4-0 in his last five starts.
The left-hander threw a career-high 125 pitches over eight innings of Monday’s 6-0 win over the Chicago Cubs. He scattered seven hits while walking two batters and striking out four before leaving the game when a batted ball grazed his pitching forearm.
“I don’t see it being a problem,” said Capuano, who is 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA in his career against the Twins. “Right now, I have all of the strength in my hand and my arm. It just feels like a bad bruise.”
Capuano defeated Minnesota at Miller Park on May 21, start allowing three runs and eight hits in seven innings of a 5-3 win.
Right-hander Carlos Silva (4-8, 6.43) takes the mound to oppose Capuano Saturday as the Twins try to win 12 in a row at home.
Silva pitched eight strong innings Monday in an 8-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing two runs and six hits.
“I think we have a very, very amazing starting rotation,” Silva said. “When you want to get better, you take anything from anybody. On this team, there’s a lot of good pitchers and you can learn a lot from everybody.”