Coming off a sweep of Chicago that all but gave it the AL Central title, Minnesota (88-59) managed five hits in a 3-1 loss to Oakland on Friday. The loss was just the Twins’ fourth in 26 home games.
“It was nice to beat a team that was obviously the best team in baseball since the break,” A’s manager Bob Geren said of Minnesota, a major league-best 42-17 since the All-Star game.
The Twins, who haven’t lost two in a row since a three-game skid Aug. 23-25, are one game behind New York and one-half back of Tampa Bay for the best record in baseball.
Minnesota will have Joe Mauer(notes) back in the lineup after he didn’t start for the first time since Sept. 4 on Friday. Mauer, retired as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, had batted .432 in his previous nine games.
“Just trying to help this club push for a playoff spot and hopefully we can clinch home-field advantage (through the ALCS),” Revere said.
The Twins will hand the ball to Slowey (12-6, 4.24 ERA), who didn’t allow a hit over his first seven innings against Oakland (73-73) on Aug. 15. He did not go out for the eighth because of manager Ron Gardenhire’s concerns about the right-hander’s problems with elbow tendinitis.
Slowey ended up on the disabled list later that month with a strained right triceps, but he’s made two starts since, beating Cleveland 6-2 on Sunday after giving up two unearned runs in five innings.
“It’s a lot of fun to be back and contributing,” he said. “I felt a whole lot better than the last time out, but still wasn’t as sharp as I would like.”
Slowey has gone 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA in four starts against the Athletics.
Oakland’s Dallas Braden(notes) (9-12, 3.56) will be looking to avoid losing a fourth straight start. The left-hander pitched 5 2-3 innings against Boston on Sunday, allowing four runs in a 5-3 loss. He has a 6.32 ERA in his last three starts.
Braden is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in five career outings against the Twins. He allowed four runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-4, 11-inning loss to Minnesota on June 4.
Mauer is 6 for 13 against Braden.