A trip to Milwaukee for the start of interleague play might be just what the Minnesota Twins need to break out of their current skid.
One of the top teams against the opposite league in 2006, the Twins look to avoid a fourth straight loss when they open a weekend series against the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.
Minnesota (18-22) was swept in a three-game series at Cleveland after a 2-0 loss Thursday and has lost seven of eight. The defending AL Central champion Twins are in fourth place—seven games back in the division after being just one half-game out of first in the division on April 28.
“Frustration is frustration, no matter which way you look at it,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twins official Web site.
The Twins, though, went 16-2 against the NL last season—tying the Boston Red Sox for the best interleague record. Minnesota, which is 22-18 against Milwaukee in interleague play, went 5-1 against the Brewers in 2006, which included taking two of three on the road from May 19-21.
Minnesota averaged almost seven runs per game in interleague action last season, but might have a hard team reaching that mark this season. The Twins have scored 32 runs in their last eight games, with 16 coming in their most recent victory Sunday against Detroit.
Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona threw a four-hitter Thursday against Minnesota, which managed seven hits in a 7-1 loss the day before.
Reigning AL MVP Justin Morneau is 1-for-7 over the last two games. Morneau hit .388 (26-for-67) with six homers and 20 RBIs against the NL last season and .400 (8-for-20) against the Brewers.
The Twins will face Milwaukee’s Chris Capuano, who will try to bounce back from his first loss of the season.
Capuano (5-1, 2.93 ERA) allowed four runs and seven hits in a season-low four innings of the Brewers’ 9-1 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday. The left-hander is 2-0 with a 4.08 ERA in three starts against Minnesota and 5-2 with a 4.19 ERA in nine interleague starts.
Milwaukee (26-15) won 3-2 over Philadelphia on Thursday to avoid a being swept in the four-game set. The Brewers completed a 2-5 road trip on the heels of a 9-1 homestand.
“You don’t want to give four away,” Milwaukee’s Ben Sheets said. “For a 2-5 road trip, we didn’t play that bad. We’re going home and I think we need to take a series there and get back on the right track.”
Gabe Gross hit a pair of solo homers for the Brewers on Thursday. Gross is hitting .321 (9-for-28) in 16 interleague games.
The Brewers went 6-9 in interleague play in 2006 and will look to avoid losing a sixth straight game to an American League club.
Minnesota will send Boof Bonser (1-1, 4.33) to the mound Friday. Bonser allowed four runs and six hits in five innings to pick up his first victory of the season in the Twins’ most recent win, 16-4 at Detroit on Sunday.
In his major league debut, the right-hander allowed one run in five innings, but did not factor in the decision of Minnesota’s 5-3 loss at Milwaukee in its lone 2006 setback to the Brewers on May 21. Bonser is 1-0 with a 2.30 ERA in three interleague starts.