The surging Twins seek a fifth straight victory and try to remain perfect at home against Thomas and the Athletics when the teams continue their three-game set Tuesday night at the Metrodome.
Minnesota (84-59) won 9-4 on Monday to move within 1 1/2 games of first-place Detroit in the AL Central. The Twins, 4-0 at home against the A’s, trailed the Tigers by 12 games at the All-Star break and have not been this close to first place since before play April 18.
Minnesota also leads the Chicago White Sox by 1 1/2 games for the wild card.
Thomas set a club record for Oakland (82-61) by homering for the sixth straight game Monday, hitting a solo shot in the fourth inning. He’s two games shy of the major league record of eight, shared by Pittsburgh’s Dale Long (1956), Don Mattingly of the New York Yankees (1987) and Seattle’s Ken Griffey Jr. (1993).
The 38-year-old designated hitter—the AL player of the week—signed with the Athletics for $500,000 and has produced his best season in three years. He’s two RBIs shy of reaching 100 for the 11th time.
Thomas has 13 RBIs over his last six games.
AL West-leading Oakland remained 5 1/2 games ahead of second-place Los Angeles.
Guerrier has made 85 career appearances without a victory—the longest active streak in the majors.
“I’m not saying it’s going to be easy,” Guerrier said about notching his first win. “I’ll be on a pitch limit and everything, but I’ll go out there and see what happens.”
The right-hander has a 2.25 ERA over his last 10 appearances. Guerrier has allowed one run and four hits over two innings in two appearances against Oakland this year. He’s never faced Thomas.
Oakland starters have failed to last past the sixth inning in each of the last seven games, posting a 9.33 ERA in that span. The A’s are hoping that Kirk Saarloos (7-7, 4.68) will put an end to that streak.
Saarloos is trying to bounce back from his shortest outing as a starter this season. He suffered his first loss since rejoining the rotation Aug. 15 when he gave up four runs over three innings in a 5-4 defeat to Texas last Tuesday.
“He was up in the zone and he got behind in the count particularly with the top of the order,” Oakland manager Ken Macha said.
The right-hander, who has won his last two road outings, is making his second start of the year against the Twins. He allowed two runs and five hits over eight innings in a 2-1 loss to Minnesota and Johan Santana on June 2.