After scoring seven runs in one inning the night before, Minnesota looks to win its third straight Saturday and possibly move into sole possession of first place in the AL Central when it continues a three-game series with the Mariners.
The Twins (68-53) won for the sixth time in eight games Friday, beating Seattle 9-3. Minnesota, which lost two of three to the Mariners (46-75) in Seattle Aug. 4-6, scored seven runs in the fourth inning off former Twin Carlos Silva. Jason Kubel started the scoring with a two-run home run and also concluded the outburst with an RBI single.
The eight hits were Minnesota’s most in one frame since it had eight April 5, 2005, at Seattle. The Twins moved into a tie for first place in the AL Central after the Chicago White Sox lost to Oakland on Friday.
“We’ve got to get wins from here on out. It doesn’t matter if it’s against a friend or someone else,” said Kubel, who had three hits.
Although Minnesota’s pitching staff had a 7.92 ERA against the Mariners in Seattle earlier this month, Francisco Liriano allowed just two unearned runs over seven innings on Friday against them, improving the Twins to 12-4 at home against Seattle since 2004.
Overall, Minnesota has won 15 of its last 19 home games and is 3-1 on this nine-game homestand. The starters are 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA during the last three four games and 5-1 with a 2.22 ERA in seven home games this month.
Seattle, meanwhile, has lost five of its last six. Its starters are 0-4 with a 7.94 ERA during that stretch after Silva lasted just 3 1-3 innings on Friday.
The Twins will hand the ball to Scott Baker (7-3, 3.78 ERA), who is winless in his last three starts. He pitched seven innings on Sunday against the Royals, allowing two runs and seven hits in a 5-4, 12-inning loss.
Baker has a 5.89 ERA in his last three starts and he is 0-2 with a 5.63 ERA in four career starts against the Mariners. On Aug. 5 against Seattle, he allowed a season-high six runs and nine hits over 5 1-3 innings of an 8-7 loss, and did not factor in the decision.
Raul Ibanez is 6-for-13 with two home runs and a double against Baker. Ibanez doubled on Friday and is hitting .391 (9-for-23) with four doubles, a triple and a home run in the last five games.
Ryan Rowland-Smith (2-1, 3.71) makes his second start since being recalled from the minors last Saturday when he counters for Seattle. Rowland-Smith started that evening and pitched 5 2-3 innings, allowing four runs and four hits in the 11-inning 8-7 loss. He did not receive a decision.
“It was good to go get back out there,” he told the Mariners official Web site. “I just wish the outcome was a little bit better, but I was happy with (the outing).”
Rowland-Smith doesn’t have a decision in three starts this season. He has a 5.02 ERA in 14 1-3 innings pitched.
The right-hander has made two relief appearances against the Twins, allowing two runs and three hits over a combined six innings. This is his first time facing them this season.