The Minnesota Twins led the American League in home victories in 2010, and they gave their fans a thrilling win in their home opener.
Still, their offense continues to struggle.
Minnesota hosts the Oakland Athletics on Saturday hoping it can begin resembling the team which finished third in the majors in batting average last season.
The Twins (3-4) lost four games on their season-opening six-game road trip prior to their return to Target Field, where they finished 53-28 in their first season there in 2010.
However, it took quite a while for Minnesota’s bats to wake up Friday. Joe Mauer(notes) and Denard Span(notes) hit RBI singles with two outs in the eighth inning for a 2-1 come-from-behind victory against the A’s (2-5).
Carl Pavano(notes) gave up one run and four hits in eight innings to get the win, and Joe Nathan(notes) earned his third save of the season after missing all of last year because of Tommy John surgery.
“I was pretty calm until I got through the door and then the place started shaking,” Nathan said. “The fans were definitely electric at that point, the loudest I’ve heard a crowd in this city. It kind of got me going a bit. Almost too much.”
Despite the win, the Twins are hitting .209 thus far after finishing 2010 with a .273 team average. They have scored only 21 runs in their seven games.
“We haven’t been very good to start the season,” Mauer said of the Twins’ offense. “But to get a win like this, sometimes that changes things and guys can get on a roll.”
Justin Morneau(notes) is 2 for 2 lifetime against Gonzalez with a three-run home run and a grand slam, while Mauer, Span, Delmon Young(notes), Michael Cuddyer(notes) and Jason Kubel(notes) have combined to hit .359 (14 for 39) with three homers against the left-hander.
Gonzalez is 1-2 with a 10.61 ERA in four career starts against Minnesota, but he allowed just one run through seven innings in beating Seattle on Sunday.
Blackburn beat Toronto on Sunday while allowing one run over 5 2-3 innings, but he’s 0-4 with a 6.64 ERA in seven lifetime starts against the A’s.
David DeJesus(notes) extended his hitting streak against Minnesota to 23 games and drove in Oakland’s lone run Friday with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. He’s 11 for 21 with a home run lifetime versus Blackburn, and he’s hitting .319 in 83 career games against Minnesota.
Oakland is 2-5 at Target Field, where the Twins won 18 of 26 series in 2010.