The Minnesota Twins have enjoyed plenty of success at the Metrodome this season, but they have failed to carry that to the road.
Minnesota opens a 10-game trip Friday night at Safeco Field, where it begins a three-game set with the Seattle Mariners.
The Twins (27-28) tagged Cleveland pitching for 13 hits Thursday when they won 11-3 for their 12th victory in 16 home games.
Minnesota, however, has dropped 11 of 13 on the road.
“We’ve played pretty good baseball on the road but we’re not winning games,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said following last Friday’s 5-3 loss at Tampa Bay. “We just have to come up with those big hits. That’s what has to happen on the road. We do it at home and we’re coming up with the big innings there.”
If Joe Mauer(notes) and Justin Morneau(notes) can maintain their hot hitting in the second and third spots, respectively, the Twins have a good chance to improve their AL-worst 6-16 road record as they visit Seattle, Oakland and Chicago, where they’ll face the Cubs.
Mauer, the AL player of the month for May, went 3 for 4 on Thursday to improve his batting average to .436. He is 10 for 16 with two homers lifetime against Mariners scheduled starter, Felix Hernandez(notes) (5-3, 3.41 ERA).
Morneau was 3 for 3 with a homer and three RBIs in Thursday’s victory. He batted .308 as Minnesota dropped four of six at Safeco Field in 2008.
“It’s just like two right-handers back-to-back,” Gardenhire said of Mauer and Morneau, both left-handed hitters. “They hit lefties, they hit righties, they hit everybody. It’s just where they should be.”
Gardenhire, though, is still trying to figure out if left-hander Francisco Liriano(notes) should keep his spot in the Twins’ rotation. Liriano (2-7, 6.60) has lasted just four innings in each of his last three starts—all losses. Since getting the win May 9 in a 9-6 victory over Seattle, Liriano is 0-3 with an 8.50 ERA in four starts.
“I’m definitely not ready to send (Liriano) to the minor leagues and I’m not ready to send him to the bullpen right now,” Gardenhire said Sunday. “If that ends up being an option, who knows, but I’d really like to see him go back out there and we will see him go back out there the next time.”
Seattle (26-28), meanwhile, has had no problems with Hernandez lately. The 23-year-old right-hander is 1-0 with a 0.61 ERA in his last two starts after going 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA in his first four May starts.
Hernandez allowed no earned runs over six innings in Saturday’s 4-3, 10-inning win over the Los Angeles Angels.
“Felix set the tone tonight,” said Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu, whose team has won five of seven. “He gave us every chance to win.”
Hernandez is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts against Minnesota this season.
Adrian Beltre(notes) went 3 for 5 with a homer and a game-winning single in Wednesday’s 3-2 victory over Baltimore. The veteran third baseman is batting .368 with two homers and 10 RBIs since his average dipped to .200 on May 20.