Pavano has one of the AL’s best ERAs away from home, a trend that bodes well as the Twins look to win their seventh straight Friday night against the Cleveland Indians.
Pavano (16-10, 3.52 ERA) has a 3.20 ERA in 15 road starts - good for fifth in the AL - and Minnesota (83-57) has the right-hander slotted to pitch the first and last games of its trip.
The finale will come against the White Sox, but the Twins are threatening to run away from their closest competitors before then. Chicago has lost three straight, while Minnesota beat Kansas City 4-3 on Wednesday to finish an 8-1 homestand.
A lack of run support contributed to consecutive road losses by Pavano against Texas and Seattle from Aug. 24-29, but he got back on track versus the Rangers on Saturday at Target Field. Pavano allowed three runs over eight innings in a 12-4 victory.
He’s 2-1 with a 2.93 ERA in four starts against the Indians (57-83), winning 7-2 at Progressive Field on Aug. 7 - a year to the day after Cleveland traded him to Minnesota.
“He’s been huge,” manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twins’ official website after Pavano held the Indians to two hits over seven innings. “I think a lot of our guys are learning from him. He’s not afraid to speak his mind in the clubhouse, which is good. He knows how we like to play and he expects the best out of his teammates.”
Thome had four homers in his past three games, hitting the 586th of his career Tuesday to tie him for eighth all-time with Frank Robinson.
The slugger is batting .474 (9 for 19) with four homers and nine RBIs in his last seven games in Cleveland.
He’s 4 for 18 without a homer against Fausto Carmona(notes) (11-14, 4.05), who will be looking to end his six-start losing streak. The right-hander had his best outing of that stretch last Friday at Seattle, but allowing one run over eight innings was enough to deal him a 1-0 defeat.
“Fausto gave us a chance to win the game,” outfielder Shelley Duncan(notes) told the Indians’ official website. “That’s why he’s the man. That’s why we’re grateful every time he pitches. He gives us a shot.”
Six-game losing streaks are nothing new to Carmona. He’s 0-6 with a 9.51 ERA and has allowed eight homers in his last seven starts versus Minnesota.
Cleveland was idle Thursday but could use another lengthy outing from Carmona after Wednesday’s game. The Indians rallied to tie the Angels in the ninth before losing 4-3 in 16 innings in a game in which they used eight pitchers.