May 21, 2014

In a game otherwise controlled by its starting pitchers, two wild pitches proved to be the difference in the Minnesota Twins' series-opening victory over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday.

Considering how effective Wednesday night's starters have been lately, offense could be sparse again as these clubs play again at Petco Park.

Opposing pitchers Kevin Correia and Ian Kennedy each went six-plus innings, with Correia yielding three runs and Kennedy four. The Twins (22-21) scored the tying run on a wild pitch from Kennedy in the sixth, and another such instance the next inning allowed the go-ahead run to advance to third in the 5-3 victory.

"When you are trying to throw curveballs down in the dirt, it's going to happen," Kennedy said.

Minnesota's offense has been solid if not unspectacular during a 6-2 stretch, averaging 4.5 runs - slightly off its season mark of 4.7. However, the Twins are slugging .441 in that span with nine homers, including an inside-the-park shot from Kurt Suzuki on Tuesday. They had been slugging .365 with just five home runs in the previous 12 games.

Brian Dozier was also 2 for 4 on Tuesday, improving to 15 for 39 (.385) with nine runs scored during a 10-game hitting streak.

The Twins hope Phil Hughes (4-1, 3.61 ERA) can continue his excellent run as they seek an eighth straight victory over the Padres. Hughes is 4-0 over his last five starts with a 1.95 ERA, walking just one batter in 32 1-3 innings. He had given up four earned runs over five innings in each of his first three outings for Minnesota.

Hughes limited Boston to one run and five hits in six innings of a 4-3 victory Thursday. He didn't allow a home run for the third time in four starts, and his 0.76 homers allowed per nine innings is a career-low. The right-hander's 1.58 average over the last two seasons was the second-highest in the majors.

"I'm going after them," said Hughes, who hasn't won five straight since two such streaks in 2010. "That's been my game plan and has continued to be."

He will have to overcome some recent interleague struggles, as he's 0-3 with a 6.33 ERA in his last five starts against National League foes. Hughes was hit hard in his only game against the Padres, allowing five runs and six hits in 2 2-3 innings of a 6-3 road loss with the Yankees on Aug. 4.

San Diego (21-25) turns to Tyson Ross (5-3, 2.81), who is 3-1 with a 1.59 ERA in five home starts, throwing seven-plus innings in each of the last four. He owns a 4.56 ERA in four road outings.

Ross has struck out 16 batters over his last two starts, yielding one run in seven innings in each of his victories over Miami and Cincinnati. He allowed a season-low three hits Thursday at Cincinnati, though his five walks were also a season worst.

Ross is 0-2 with a 9.53 ERA in four matchups with Minnesota, losing both starts. He gave up four runs and six hits over five innings in a 4-0 road loss on May 30, 2012.

You May Like

Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)