Minnesota (53-53) at Cleveland (44-62)

Cloudy Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 43° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Wed Aug 5, 2009
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The Minnesota Twins halted a three-game losing streak with an impressive showing at the plate. They’ll look to continue pounding the Cleveland Indians’ struggling pitching staff on Wednesday night in the middle game of this series at Progressive Field.

The Twins (53-53) collected 16 hits with a season-high seven doubles to beat Cleveland 10-1 on Tuesday, following a three-game sweep at the hands of the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels over the weekend.

“Doubles are nice,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said after watching his team rough up an Indians’ staff that has a major league-worst 5.20 ERA.

Gardenhire, though, might be hoping his own pitchers can gain some inspiration from Scott Baker(notes), who held the Indians (44-62) to three hits in seven scoreless innings Tuesday. That performance came after Minnesota gave up 35 runs and 52 hits in the sweep to the Angels, including 15 hits in Sunday’s 13-4 loss.

“It wasn’t so much a challenge as it was about begging,” Gardenhire said. “We have good pitchers and the challenge is for them to step up.”

The Twins could use a strong outing from Francisco Liriano(notes) (4-10, 5.56 ERA), who missed his last scheduled start on Wednesday due to soreness and swelling in his left forearm.

The left-hander, who is tied with four others for the AL lead in losses, is 0-2 with a 5.32 ERA in his last four starts with Minnesota winning only one. He was hit hard in his last appearance on July 24, surrendering six runs and eight hits, including a career high-tying three homers, in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-3 loss to the Angels.

Liriano is 2-2 with a 3.95 ERA in seven games - five starts - against the Indians.

He could get some help from the Twins’ offense, which is hitting .313 with 11 homers while outscoring Cleveland 40-23 in winning five of seven meetings this season.

Jason Kubel(notes) has done much of that damage, posting a .370 average (10 for 27) with five homers and 10 RBIs after one of his two hits Tuesday left the park.

Kubel is batting .304 with 19 homers - one shy of his career high - and 59 RBIs this season.

The Indians will turn to Aaron Laffey(notes) (4-3, 4.08) as he attempts to rebound from one of his worst performances of the season.

The left-hander was tagged for seven runs and seven hits in four innings of a 9-3 loss to the Angels on Wednesday. That outing was in stark contrast to his previous start five days earlier when he yielded three hits while fanning seven in seven innings of a 9-0 victory at Seattle.

Laffey is 1-2 with a 4.30 ERA in four starts since being activated from the disabled list July 8. Prior to landing on the DL with a right oblique strain on May 23, he was being used out of the bullpen.

Laffey is 2-1 with a 5.06 ERA in five starts against the Twins, winning both games at Progressive Field with a 2.19 ERA. He beat them again at home on April 26, allowing two runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-2 victory.

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Starting Pitchers

F. Liriano Pit vs. A. Laffey Col
5-13 Record 7-9
5.80 ERA 4.44
122 K 59
65 BB 57
1.55 WHIP 1.62


Wednesday, Aug 5