Blackburn looks to stretch his career-high win streak to six games Tuesday night when the Twins look for a season-high sixth straight win as they visit the Seattle Mariners.
After going 1-1 with a 6.85 ERA in four outings in April, Blackburn (6-1, 4.28 ERA) has enjoyed quite a turnaround. He won all five starts in May by posting a 2.65 ERA.
“It’s quite a surprise,” Blackburn told the Twins’ official website. “Just that I’ve been able to put together several good starts in a row and had my better stuff recently has been a bit of a confidence booster to me.”
The right-hander has pitched at least seven innings during every game of his run. That’s how long he lasted Thursday, allowing two runs in an 8-2 home win over the New York Yankees.
Blackburn’s career record in June is 3-3 with a 3.80 ERA in 10 starts. He’s 1-0 with a 2.88 ERA in four career outings versus Seattle.
Minnesota (31-20) has matched its longest win streak of the season after opening this four-game set with a 5-4 victory Monday. Michael Cuddyer(notes), Jason Kubel(notes) and Delmon Young(notes) all homered to continue a team-wide trend of going deep away from home.
“We were hoping for runs. That’s why we put that lineup out there,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I’ll take my chances.”
The Twins are third in the AL in homers on the road (31) compared to the third-worst total in the league at home (13) as they get acclimated to the first season at Target Field.
Seattle (19-31) is tied with Oakland for the fewest homers in the league overall (30) and at home (12).
The Mariners are hoping to put an ugly May behind them. They went 8-19 to fall eight games out of first after beginning it just one-half game out.
Minnesota, meanwhile, expects Gold Glove second baseman Orlando Hudson(notes) to join the team Tuesday. Hudson did not make the trip after a collision with teammate Denard Span(notes) on the final play of Sunday’s 6-3 home win over Texas.
Tests on Hudson’s surgically repaired left wrist showed no damage, and Gardenhire isn’t sure when Hudson will play again.
Cuddyer made his first start at second base since 2005 on Monday.
“I’m up for anything. Doesn’t matter where I play,” Cuddyer said. “I was comfortable.”
The Mariners will try to improve to 6-1 in home games started by Jason Vargas(notes) (3-2, 3.12), who’s 3-1 with a 2.56 ERA in the first five such outings. The left-hander did not get a decision Wednesday after allowing two runs over five innings in a 5-4 win over Detroit.
Vargas has never started against Minnesota, pitching 1 1-3 innings of scoreless relief in an 11-0 loss May 8, 2009.