Solid pitching and a productive offense have propelled the Minnesota Twins to some early success at Target Field.
The Twins look for more of both at their new home when they try for the third straight victory Saturday against the Kansas City Royals.
After pounding out 15 hits and receiving seven strong innings from Francisco Liriano(notes) in an 8-0 win over Boston on Thursday, Minnesota (8-3) matched a season high for runs and got another solid seven innings from Scott Baker(notes) in a 10-3 win over Kansas City on Friday.
In the first week at their new open-air ballpark, the Twins are 3-1 and outscored the Red Sox and Royals 26-11. They’re batting .333 and their starters have a combined 2.16 ERA at home.
Michael Cuddyer(notes) was one of five Twins with two hits and added three RBIs Friday. Minnesota tagged 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke(notes) for four runs and six hits in five innings on its way to a fourth consecutive win over Kansas City (4-6).
Cuddyer is 9 for 21 with nine RBIs in his last five games, and hitting .371 with 15 RBIs in his last nine against the Royals. He’s 7 for 16 against Kansas City scheduled starter Gil Meche(notes) (0-1, 18.90 ERA).
After he suffered a stiff shoulder in spring training, Meche was forced to make two appearances against minor leaguers before he allowed seven runs and eight hits with three walks in 3 1-3 innings of an 8-6 loss to Boston on Sunday.
The good news for Meche and the Royals was that his shoulder didn’t give him any trouble.
“My outing was terrible,” said Meche, who’s in the fourth season of a $55 million, five-year contract. “Health-wise, it’s a positive, obviously.”
The right-hander hopes for better success against the Twins, a team he’s 9-6 with a 4.64 ERA against in 19 starts.
Blackburn (1-1, 5.02 ERA) looks to give Minnesota a third consecutive strong start when he takes the ball for the first time at Target Field.
After allowing three runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-3 over the Los Angeles Angels on April 6, Blackburn gave up five runs - three home runs - in 7 2-3 innings of a 5-4 loss at Chicago on Sunday.
The right-hander is 1-2 with a 3.65 ERA in six starts versus the Royals.
Betancourt is 9 for 17 through the first four of Kansas City’s current nine-game road swing.