Phillies-Twins Preview

The Associated Press

The Minnesota Twins didn't exactly explode offensively, but they came through with timely hits to open their series with the Philadelphia Phillies in winning fashion.

Philadelphia will have to rely on rookie right-hander Tyler Cloyd to avoid a season-high fifth straight loss Wednesday night, though he's been solid thus far.

The Twins (28-33) entered this three-game set having dropped four of five while going 4 for 50 with runners in scoring position. They were 4 for 11 in such situations Tuesday, leading to a 3-2 victory.

Justin Morneau had two of those hits and finished 3 for 4, including the go-ahead single in the eighth. Morneau, batting .357 with seven RBIs in seven contests versus Philadelphia (31-34), had gone eight straight games without driving in a run.

"Watching TV, we saw the numbers scrolling across. They weren't very good," Morneau said of Minnesota's struggles with runners in scoring position. "To be able to come through in that situation is good for everybody. Hopefully it gets us rolling in the right direction."

The Twins have gone seven consecutive games without scoring more than four runs, and now Cloyd (2-2, 3.68 ERA) will look to keep them in check. He's coming off his best outing of the year, yielding four hits - all singles - over 6 2-3 shutout innings in a 5-1 win at Milwaukee on Thursday.

Excluding a May 27 start at Boston in which he was shelled for six runs in 2 1-3 innings, Cloyd has given up six runs and no homers over 27 innings while starting in place of the injured Roy Halladay.

"I don't think you can fill in for Roy, a pitcher with that status and how great he is," Cloyd told the team's official website. "For me, it's just go out there and compete and give the team a chance to win every time. That's been my main goal ever since I got up here. That's all I concentrate on."

After spending the last seven seasons with the Mets, Twins starter Mike Pelfrey (3-6, 6.40) has seen plenty of the Phillies. He's 7-7 in 20 career starts against them, struggling more recently to a 1-3 record and 6.62 ERA in the last seven. Ryan Howard, who was 2 for 4 with an RBI on Tuesday, is 16 for 43 (.372) with three homers and seven walks against Pelfrey.

The right-hander hasn't won since May 5, going 0-3 with a 6.44 ERA in six starts. But he did log a season-best 6 1-3 innings while giving up three runs in a 7-3 loss at Kansas City on Thursday, not getting a decision.

"Pelfrey did fine," manager Ron Gardenhire told the team's official website. "In talking with (catcher Ryan) Doumit during the game, he said the ball was really moving. His splitter was good, and that was the best he has seen him, which is a positive for us. We needed that."

Oswaldo Arcia, playing for Minnesota for the first time since being recalled from Triple-A to replace injured outfielder Aaron Hicks, drove in a run with a double in the fourth inning Tuesday.

Ben Revere was 1 for 4 in his first game against the team with which he spent his first three big-league seasons.

The Phillies, who also lost four straight April 15-18, haven't had a longer losing streak since a five-game skid in July.

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