As one of the league’s most successful interleague teams in recent seasons, the Minnesota Twins haven’t lost three straight against the NL in more than three years. It’s been much longer since they’ve been swept by an NL club.
The Twins will try to avoid their first interleague sweep since 2001 when they close a three-game set against the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.
From 2001-09, Minnesota (40-31) boasted a major league-best 101-61 interleague record. It’s had some trouble this year, though, dropping to 7-7 after a 5-3 loss to Milwaukee (31-40) on Wednesday.
The Twins, who lost the series opener 7-5, are now trying to avoid losing three straight against the NL for the first time since May 20-June 9, 2007, and their first three-game interleague sweep since July 15-17, 2001, at St. Louis.
While Minnesota is 9-11 in June, it still has a 1 1/2-game AL Central lead over second-place Detroit.
Blackburn gave up eight runs and six hits in 1 2-3 innings of a 9-5 loss to the Phillies on Friday. Minnesota is 0-4 in the right-hander’s starts this month, in which he’s pitched a total of 15 innings.
“Tonight was one of those nights where I couldn’t get it down for a strike,” Blackburn told the Twins’ official website. “Unfortunately that’s been the case several times recently.”
Blackburn pitched one of his better games against the Brewers on May 21, allowing three runs and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 15-3 home win.
Brewers slugger Ryan Braun is 6 for 10 with three doubles off Blackburn. The left fielder was 0 for 4 Wednesday after hitting .389 the previous nine games, although he hit into a fielder’s choice in the seventh to score Rickie Weeks(notes), giving Milwaukee a 4-2 lead.
The Brewers, who have already clinched the season series against Minnesota after losing the previous five between these teams, will try to match their longest winning streak of the season - set April 18-22 - when they go for a fourth straight victory Thursday.
“They’ve been wearing us out since I’ve been here,” Milwaukee outfielder Corey Hart(notes) said of the Twins. “It’s nice to get the series and hopefully tomorrow we can come out hot. It’s just refreshing that we’re playing good baseball and we feel like we’re not out of it yet.”
Yovani Gallardo(notes) (6-3, 2.59), who will take the mound for the Brewers in the series finale, has a 1.54 ERA in his last five starts but only two wins to show for it due to inconsistent run support and a shaky bullpen.
The right-hander gave up one run and four hits while striking out nine in six innings at Colorado on Saturday, but wound up without a decision in an 8-7 loss.
The Brewers also lost 8-7 the only previous time Gallardo faced the Twins. He yielded four runs in six innings May 22 as Milwaukee went on to lose in 12.