Given their recent run of success in interleague play, the Minnesota Twins may petition Major League Baseball to join the National League.
The Twins try for their 13th consecutive interleague victory and a three-game sweep of the slumping NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers as their series concludes Sunday afternoon at Miller Park.
Minnesota (20-22) has not lost an interleague game since a 5-3 defeat to the Houston Astros last June 21. The Twins also have reeled off five straight wins over the Brewers (26-17) in that time, most recently a 5-2 victory Saturday in which Scott Baker came two outs short of a complete game.
“If I feel like I did everything I could, that’s peace of mind, that’s the way I look at it,” said Baker, who acknowledged he talked to sports performance coaches and relied on his faith after being demoted last season. “It’s supposed to be fun, if it’s not fun, why are we doing this? So, I’m having fun, enjoying it.”
Offensively, Torii Hunter homered for the second straight game and is 4-for-8 with three runs and seven RBIs in the series. He is hitting .329 (27-for-82) with eight homers and 20 RBIs lifetime at Milwaukee.
“I like this park, this park is pretty sweet,” said Hunter. “I love it, I love it, it’s electrifying.”
Twins starter Ramon Ortiz (3-4, 4.89 ERA) is hoping to revert to the form of his first five starts and avoid losing his fourth consecutive outing. The right-hander limited opponents to three runs or fewer in each outing while opening the season 3-1, but has been reached for 16 runs and 20 hits over 11 innings in his last three losses.
Ortiz lasted just one inning Tuesday at Cleveland, getting tagged for six runs and seven hits with one walk as the Twins lost 15-7.
The Dominican Republic native has been a solid pitcher in interleague games, though, compiling a 10-5 record with a 4.20 ERA in 18 starts and 22 overall appearances. Ortiz is 4-3 with a 5.40 ERA in seven starts and eight lifetime appearances against the Brewers.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy hit his NL-leading 14th homer Saturday for the Brewers, who have lost seven of their last nine games. They are hitting just .182 in their last seven contests while averaging 2.6 runs in that span, but manager Ned Yost is seeing positive signs.
“We swung the bats better,” Yost said. “The way things are going now, you hit a ball hard and it’s right at somebody. It’s the way it goes when you’re struggling.”
Claudio Vargas (3-0, 2.93) will try to help the Brewers avoid getting swept for the first time this season. The fellow Dominican right-hander did not have a decision Tuesday, after giving up three runs in six innings to Philadelphia before Milwaukee lost 4-3.
Vargas has been steady but unspectacular his last four starts, allowing three runs or fewer in each of them, but not lasting longer than six innings. He is 4-4 in 16 appearances and 10 starts lifetime in interleague play, including an 0-1 mark and 6.23 ERA in one start and two overall outings against the Twins.
Milwaukee has lost seven consecutive interleague games since a 7-2 victory at Kansas City on June 23.