Mariners-Twins Preview

The Associated Press

The Minnesota Twins own the worst record in the AL, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that they haven't won back-to-back games in more than three weeks.

The offensive display in their latest contest was certainly stunning.

The Twins look to build on one of their best performances at the plate this month as they try to salvage a split of this four-game set with the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.

Minnesota (53-77) is all but mathematically eliminated from postseason contention for a second consecutive season and has dropped nine of the past 11 at home.

The Twins, however, provided a rare bright spot at Target Field on Wednesday, collecting 16 hits in a 10-0 romp over Seattle (63-68).

"I think (Wednesday) is what we're capable of being and doing as a team," third baseman Trevor Plouffe said after hitting his 20th homer - his first since July 3. "We just haven't done that consistently all year. The good teams do that consistently."

Consistency has been an issue for Plouffe, who had four RBIs on Wednesday. He had a .145 average with three RBIs over the previous 15 games after returning from a bruised right thumb that cost him nearly a month on the disabled list.

Joe Mauer hasn't had an issue finding consistency at the plate at home, batting .332 after going 3 for 5 with a homer on Wednesday.

The All-Star catcher is a career .422 hitter in 22 home matchups with Seattle.

The Twins, who last won back-to-back games Aug. 6-7, may need another big offensive effort with Brian Duensing (3-9, 5.28 ERA) scheduled to take the mound.

The left-hander has struggled at home, going 1-5 with a 5.86 ERA in 18 games. He's posted a 7.50 ERA in losing three of his four starts at Target Field in 2012.

The venue didn't matter for Duensing's latest outing, as he was battered for a career-high nine runs and 10 hits - two homers - in 2 1-3 innings of a 9-3 loss at Texas.

"To be honest, the ball was just up," Duensing told the team's official website. "Every time it was up, it got hit. Every time it was down, it would get hit or it would be a ball. I don't know. I just got beat pretty bad. There was nothing I could do about it. Everything I seemed to throw, they seemed to hit. Nothing seemed to fool them."

His lone start against Seattle went fairly well. Duensing limited the Mariners to three runs and four hits over seven innings in a 3-0 road loss May 25, 2011.

The Mariners, who were held to two hits Wednesday, have dropped four of six after a season-high eight-game winning streak.

They'll hand the ball to Blake Beavan (8-8, 5.10), whose only win in his last four starts came when he held the Twins to a run over 5 1-3 innings on Aug. 19.

The right-hander followed that up six days later by surrendering four runs, seven hits and three walks in five innings of a 5-4 defeat at Chicago.

Beavan, who limited the Twins to two runs over seven innings at Target Field on Sept. 22, has a 6.25 ERA in his last six road starts.

What to Read Next