A pair of teams desperate for wins will clash once again on Saturday when the Seattle Mariners and the Minnesota Twins continue a three- game series at Target Field.
Kendrys Morales launched a two-run home run in the sixth inning to break a scoreless tie to lead the Mariners to a 3-0 win over the Twins on Friday night.
Hisashi Iwakuma continued his stellar season as he picked up his sixth win by pitching 7 1/3 shutout innings while striking out five batters. Tom Wilhelmsen then pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 12th save of the season.
Morales was just 1-for-4 in the contest while Brendan Ryan and Jesus Sucre each went 2-for-4. Sucre also added an RBI, as the Mariners won back-to-back games for just the second time in the last 14 games.
Pedro Florimon went a perfect 3-for-3 for the Twins, but the rest of the lineup managed to go just 4-for-30 en route to their third shutout loss of the season. Mike Pelfrey seemed to be avoiding trouble until the sixth inning when he was chased from the game after giving up three runs in 5 1/3 innings of work.
Taking to the hill for Seattle will be veteran Aaron Harang. The season hasn't gone particularly well for the 35-year-old hurler as he is just 2-5 with an ERA that has ballooned to 6.51 in his seven starts on the season.
Part of the issue for Harang has been his struggles in giving up too many home runs. This season Harang has been taken deep eight times which has him well on his way to eclipsing his total (14) from a year ago.
Harang did show signs of life in his most recent start and that is an understatement. The right-hander tossed a complete-game shutout while striking out a season-high eight batters during a 9-0 win this past week over San Diego. The complete game was the first for Harang since 2009 and the 14th of his career.
In the nine of the first 11 seasons of his career Harang pitched in the National League so his experience against American League squads is rather limited. That is especially true against Minnesota which Harang has faced just twice with an ERA of 3.00 in 10 2/3 innings. In fact the Twins are the only team in the majors Harang does not have a decision against.
Opposing Harang will be another starter who has spent the bulk of his career in the National League; Kevin Correia.
Correia spent the past two seasons with Pittsburgh before heading north to Minnesota for this season. On the campaign Correia is 5-4 with an ERA just south of 4.00 over 63 2/3 innings of work. Correia isn't a pitcher that will blow the ball by batters, with just 26 strikeouts, but his 10 walks are rather impressive.
Coming into May Correia had an ERA of 2.23 but some rocky starts in May elevated his ERA. His most recent outing earned him a quality start (seven innings, three runs) but his ERA rose yet again after the appearance to its current level, the highest it has been all season.
Correia has made three appearances, two of which were starts, in his career against Seattle. In that time he has an 0-1 record with an ERA of 4.30 in 14 2/3 innings of work.
A year ago Seattle took eight of 10 meetings with the Twins after also winning the season series in 2011.