Stellar starting pitching has helped pace the Oakland Athletics during their longest winning streak of the season.
Still last in the AL West, Oakland (25-30) hasn’t won seven in a row since a 10-game streak from June 8-18, 2006.
Though their two total hits Sunday contributed to their AL-worst .240 batting average, the A’s have outscored the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore 38-8 during the winning streak.
However, the club’s starting pitchers - four of which are rookies - are 6-0 while allowing five earned runs, striking out 23 and walking five in 40 1-3 innings over the stretch.
Outman (3-0, 3.02 ERA) earned a win during the streak after allowing three runs - two earned - and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-3 win over the White Sox on Wednesday.
The left-hander, who makes his first appearance versus Minnesota, has not given up more than three earned runs in 13 career starts dating to last season.
“Josh is a stud,” A’s starting pitcher Dallas Braden(notes) told the team’s official Web site. “Capital S-T-U-D. You end up with a name like ‘Outman,’ what else are you going to do? You’re going to get people out, man.”
Kennedy, who’s hitting .339 in 28 games since being traded to Oakland from Tampa Bay, went 5 for 13 (.385) with four runs scored against the Orioles.
Oakland faces Minnesota (28-30) for the first time this season after the teams split 10 games in 2008, with the A’s going 4-3 at home.
The Twins look to avoid a third straight loss after falling 4-2 at Seattle on Sunday to drop two of three in their opening series of a 10-game road trip.
Minnesota, which is 7-18 away from home, allowed seven runs in the series, but scored five. The Twins went 2 for 24 with runners in scoring position.
“That is why you lose baseball games and why we are struggling on the road, because we are just not hitting with men out there,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Justin Morneau(notes) drove in a run for his fifth RBI in four games, and Brendan Harris(notes) doubled to extend his career-high hitting streak to 12 games. Harris is batting .348 (16 for 46) during the streak, but .215 in his career against Oakland.
After not allowing a run in his first 11 major league innings, the right-hander has given up nine over his last six. Swarzak was tagged for six runs and nine hits in four innings of a 10-1 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday.
“I thought I was (finding my groove) before (Wednesday),” Swarzak told the Twins’ official Web site. “That’s why I’m so frustrated.”