The Minnesota Twins continue to have their way with teams from the National League.
The surging Twins look for their fifth consecutive victory in the middle contest of their series with the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at the Metrodome.
Minnesota (38-36) won 7-2 over Arizona in Friday’s opener for its sixth victory in seven games—all over NL teams.
The Twins, who moved 3 1/2 games back of AL Central-leading Chicago, are 7-3 in interleague play and took two of three at Milwaukee last weekend before sweeping Washington this week.
The Twins improved to 6-4 all-time versus NL West-leading Arizona (39-35), which had won two in a row.
Minnesota, which has won seven of nine since losing six straight, has outscored opponents 50-18 its last seven contests.
“The guys are getting after it,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Craig Monroe hit a two-run homer, while Carlos Gomez, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau each drove in a run for the Twins, who benefited from a six-run third inning against Arizona’s Randy Johnson on Friday.
Morneau extended his hitting streak to nine games while batting .368 (14-for-38) with 13 RBIs during that span. Mauer, meanwhile, is 7-for-14 in his last four contests.
The Twins have also received solid starting pitching during their recent run. Minnesota’s starters have won all four games while posting a 2.00 ERA.
“To say they’re locked in and it’s going to be that way the rest of the year, you can’t do that,” Gardenhire said. “It’s just night in and night out hopefully we get a good performance each night.”
Minnesota hopes rookie Nick Blackburn (5-4, 3.87 ERA) can keep that trend going on Saturday. Looking to win two in a row, Blackburn was slated to start Tuesday against Washington, but was pushed back due to soreness in his right elbow.
The right-hander allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings of an 8-5 win at Cleveland in his most recent start on June 11.
“We just wanted to give him a couple extra days,” Gardenhire told the Twins’ official Web site of Blackburn, who will make his first career start versus Arizona.
The Diamondbacks hope Micah Owings (6-5, 5.18) can reverse his recent fortunes and help them bounce back.
Owings allowed a season-high seven earned runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-3 loss to Kansas City on Sunday. After winning his first four starts, the right-hander is 2-5, and has allowed 21 earned runs in 19 innings over his last four starts.
“For the most part, I’m kind of scratching my head,” said Owings, who will make his first appearance against Minnesota.
Hudson is batting .467 (7-for-15) in his last three games.