Minnesota (73-55) at Seattle (50-77)

Cloudy Currently: Seattle, WA
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 10:10 pm EDT Fri Aug 27, 2010
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Scott Baker(notes) pitched seven scoreless innings in his last outing. Since the Seattle Mariners scored against him July 30, they have gone 21 innings without a run against the Minnesota Twins.

The AL Central-leading Twins should be heavily favored Friday night when Baker tries for his fifth straight win in the opener of a three-game series at Safeco Field.

Minnesota (73-55) is 4-3 against Seattle (50-77) this year, posting back-to-back home shutouts July 31 and Aug. 1 after Baker (11-9, 4.63 ERA) gave up three runs over 5 1-3 innings in a 5-3 victory July 30.

The right-hander is 2-3 with a 4.66 ERA in eight career starts against the Mariners, including 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA in three on the road.

The Twins have won his last six starts, with Baker going 4-0 with a 3.08 ERA in that span. He gave up five hits over seven innings Sunday in a 4-0 win over the Angels.

Baker was struggling at 7-9 with a 5.15 ERA before his last six outings.

“I really just tried to simplify things,” Baker said. “Instead of worrying about making a pitch, I just tried to make sure I was doing it right mechanically and whatever happened, happened.”

He’ll try to take advantage of a Mariners team that ranks last in the majors with 418 runs. Third baseman Jose Lopez(notes), though, is 9 for 21 against Baker.

Lopez went 7 for 16 with two homers and six RBIs when Seattle won three of four at home over Minnesota from May 31-June 3.

The Twins avoided a four-game sweep at Texas with a 6-4 victory Thursday. Minnesota remained 3 1/2 games ahead of Chicago in the division, and regained a one-half game lead over the Rangers in the race for home-field advantage for the division series.

Jim Thome(notes), who will turn 40 on Friday, hit his 582nd homer in the win over the Rangers. He moved one away from tying Mark McGwire for ninth on the career list.

The Mariners split their season-high 12-game road trip after Felix Hernandez(notes) pitched them to a 4-2 victory at Boston on Wednesday. Seattle split a day-night doubleheader and ended a four-game skid.

“It was a nice win to end our longest road trip of the year,” interim manager Daren Brown told the Mariners’ official website. “To end up 6-6 on the trip was big, especially going into two places, New York and Boston, that are tough places to play.”

A return home should benefit Jason Vargas(notes) (9-6, 3.43), who is 7-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 13 starts at Safeco this year. That includes a 7-1 win over Minnesota in which he gave up one run over seven innings June 1.

The left-hander had his three-start win streak snapped Saturday in a 9-5 loss to the Yankees in which he gave up a season-high seven runs over 6 1-3 innings despite retiring 15 straight batters in one stretch.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Baker LAD vs. J. Vargas KC
12-9 Record 9-12
4.49 ERA 3.78
148 K 116
43 BB 54
1.34 WHIP 1.25


Friday, Aug 27