Oakland (73-73) at Minnesota (88-59)

Cloudy Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 14° F
  • Game info: 1:10 pm EDT Sat Sep 18, 2010
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The Minnesota Twins suffered a letdown in their series opener against the Oakland Athletics, but it’s been more than three weeks since the club has lost consecutive games.

The Twins will try to keep that run going Saturday behind Kevin Slowey(notes), who will face the Athletics for the first time since coming within six outs of a no-hitter against them last month.

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.

Minnesota could also have Denard Span(notes) (sore right shoulder) back after he was a late scratch Friday. Jason Kubel(notes) (sore left wrist) isn’t expected to return until Sunday.

Ben Revere(notes) made his first major league start in center in Span’s place Friday, going 0 for 3 with a walk.

“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.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Braden OAK vs. K. Slowey PHI
11-14 Record 13-6
3.50 ERA 4.45
113 K 116
43 BB 29
1.16 WHIP 1.29


Saturday, Sep 18