The Metrodome has usually provided the Minnesota Twins with a significant home-field advantage, but that has not been the case this season.
Following a lengthy road trip, the Twins return to the Metrodome looking to end their home struggles as they start a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday.
Minnesota (22-24) had the best home record in the majors last season at 54-27, but is tied with Colorado for the majors’ fourth-worst home record this year (10-13).
The Twins have lost 10 of their last 14 at the Metrodome, but did manage to rout Detroit 16-4 in their last home game on May 13.
Minnesota then went 4-5 on its latest road trip, capped by a 5-3 win over Texas on Wednesday.
“It ends up a good road trip,” Twins manager Rod Gardenhire told the team’s official Web site. “Going 4-5 is never good, but starting off 0-3 and then coming back and winning four out of your last six, we have to look at the positive side.”
Reigning AL MVP Justin Morneau hit .306 (11-for-36) with five homers and 10 RBIs during the road trip, but is batting just .253 with six home runs in 23 home games.
Morneau was only 4-for-26 (.154) in seven games against the Blue Jays (21-25) last season, as the Twins won only two of them. They went 1-3 against Toronto at home in 2006.
Scott Baker (1-0, 2.16 ERA) looks to build off a strong first start of the season in Friday’s series opener. Baker spent parts of the last two seasons with Minnesota, and began the year with Triple-A Rochester before being recalled for last Saturday’s game against Milwaukee. The right-hander allowed two runs and six hits while striking out five in a career-high 8 1-3 innings of a 5-2 win.
“If I feel like I did everything I could, that’s peace of mind, that’s the way I look at it,” Baker said. “It’s supposed to be fun, if it’s not fun, why are we doing this? So, I’m having fun, enjoying it.”
Baker, who has made 26 career starts, now looks to win back-to-back outings for the first time in his first career appearance against the Blue Jays.
Toronto defeated Baltimore 5-4 in 10 innings on Thursday, and has won eight of 12 following a nine-game losing streak.
Alex Rios hit the game-winning home run in the 10th, and is batting .471 (8-for-17) with eight runs scored during a five-game hitting streak.
Frank Thomas hit his 493rd career home run in the seventh on Thursday, tying Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff for 21st on the career list.
Rookie Jesse Litsch (1-1, 3.55) makes his third career start for the Blue Jays and hopes to bounce back from his last outing. The 22-year-old right-hander allowed one run and four hits in 8 2-3 innings in a 2-1 win over Baltimore on May 15 in his major league debut, but yielded four runs and seven hits— including two home runs—in just four innings of a 5-3 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday.
“I left some balls up - left a lot of balls up, actually,” Litsch told the team’s official Web site. “It wasn’t like last week where I was working down in the zone. With me, when the ball’s up, it flattens out. I’ve got to get the ball down or that’s going happen.”