The Minnesota Twins have been in a win one, lose one pattern over the past week. They’ll need to play better than that in order to secure an AL playoff berth.
The Twins look to win consecutive games for the first time since taking three in a row from Aug. 13-16 when they conclude their three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday at Camden Yards.
Minnesota (73-52) has alternated wins and losses over its last seven contests, including a 4-1 victory over the Orioles on Wednesday night. Michael Cuddyer went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs, Torii Hunter homered, and rookie Matt Garza allowed one unearned run over six innings to earn his first major league win.
“Even though I wasn’t around much to see it, it was a great game for our ballclub,” said Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire, who got ejected by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez in the fifth inning.
The Twins evened their record at 1-1 on their current six-game road trip after losing Tuesday’s series opener 6-3. They are 12-3 away from the Metrodome since the All-Star break.
After Thursday’s contest, the Twins travel to Chicago for a crucial three-game series with the White Sox.
Boof Bonser (2-4, 5.51 ERA) looks to build off a solid effort his last time out and give the Twins back-to-back wins by rookie starting pitchers. After losing his three previous starts, the 24-year-old right-hander allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings, but did not receive a decision in Minnesota’s 7-3 win over the White Sox last Friday.
“Today was one of the days people had us picked to lose,” Hunter said last Friday. “Boof went out there and did his thing.”
Bonser, 0-2 with a 6.29 ERA in five starts away from home, has never faced Baltimore.
Wednesday’s defeat was just the second in the last seven games for the Orioles (56-70), who send Kris Benson (10-9, 4.63) to the mound in search of his second straight win. After going 0-4 in his previous six starts, Benson finally earned his 10th victory of the season Friday night by beating Toronto 7-2.
“I had a couple chances to get one, but it slipped away,” said Benson, who reached double-digit wins for the third straight season, including a career-best 12 in 2004 while pitching for Pittsburgh and the New York Mets. “Now I just need two more to get a career high.”
Benson limited Toronto to two runs over seven innings last Friday, and has allowed three or fewer earned runs in four of his last five outings.
The right-hander has faced the Twins just once in his career, a victory on July 8, 2000, when he allowed one run in 8 1-3 innings.
The Twins activated outfielder Rondell White, who had been on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, after Wednesday’s contest. Gardenhire said White, batting .225 with three home runs and 25 RBIs in 70 games this season, would be available to play in the series finale.