Due largely to some hot hitting, the Minnesota Twins are riding a three-game win streak for the first time in nearly 11 months.
They'll try to add to that run Saturday, but to do so they'll need to overcome their woes against Milwaukee Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo at Miller Park.
Minnesota (13-26) posted double-digits hits for the third straight game with 16 in Friday's 11-3 rout of Milwaukee. They also matched a season high for runs scored, set only two days earlier in Detroit. The major league-worst Twins have won three in a row for the first time since July 3-5.
Denard Span had four hits and drove in three runs in his return from a sore right hamstring. Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau added three RBIs apiece, and Josh Willingham provided an early two-run homer.
Morneau is batting .355 lifetime against Milwaukee (16-23), the best average among active AL players with at least 150 plate appearances versus the Brewers. Mauer ranks second on that list at .340.
The two veteran sluggers will now try to help the Twins solve Gallardo (2-4, 5.04 ERA) at Miller Park, as they might be in the lineup together for first time in three road matchups against the right-hander.
A strained left wrist had Morneau on the disabled list for an 11-1 loss to Gallardo last June 25, when Mauer had one of his team's eight hits. Mauer was given the day off for Gallardo's shutout June 24, 2010, when Morneau had two of the Twins' five hits.
Gallardo will try to prevent his team's second four-game skid of the season while displaying some better control. He has allowed three runs or fewer in each of his last three outings but matched a career high with six walks in a 3-1 loss at the New York Mets on Monday.
"It was one of those days where I felt too good," Gallardo said. "I was overthrowing the curveball a little bit. I was trying to do too much with it instead of letting it do the things that it does on its own."
The Twins will counter with Carl Pavano (2-3, 5.14), who will try to overcome some recent soreness in his pitching shoulder and help his team to its first four-game winning streak since reeling off eight in a row last June 11-21.
The right-hander, 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in his last two starts, headed back to Minneapolis to work on strengthening his shoulder after not getting a decision in a 5-4 loss to Cleveland on Monday.
"He says he feels great," manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twins' official website. "He feels good enough going to this therapist who does soft-tissue (work). He's talked about not even dealing with a cortisone shot. He's got back some of that extension in his arm so he can reach back a little bit."
Pavano might need all the help he can get. He's 0-3 with a 5.51 ERA in his last five starts against the Brewers, including a 6-2 defeat at Miller Park on June 26.
Ryan Braun is 5 for 14 with two homers off Pavano. The Milwaukee slugger, who homered in Friday's loss, is batting .400 during a 14-game interleague hit streak and has 13 RBIs in his last 11 matchups with AL opponents.
He has nine RBIs in his last six games against Minnesota, driving in at least one run in each of them.