Surprising aces square off in Minnesota

( - If there was anyone who predicted Dallas Keuchel and Phil Hughes would be tied for fifth in the American League in wins in the first week of June, go ahead and take your bows.

Two of the league's most surprising early season aces take the mound against each other on Friday night, when the Houston Astros and Minnesota Twins open a three-game weekend series at Target Field.

Keuchel and Hughes have six wins apiece, which places them behind would-be AL royalty in Toronto veteran Mark Buehrle (10), first-year New York sensation Masahiro Tanaka (9) and Seattle and Detroit stalwarts Felix Hernandez (8) and Rick Porcello (8).

Hughes, in fact, was beaten in his initial decision of the season and has since picked up six wins in eight starts while compiling a 1.99 earned run average. The streak is one behind Milwaukee's Kyle Lohse, who pitches Friday night looking for an eighth straight win.

Hughes, incidentally, was 4-14 in 30 games last season with the Yankees.

He beat his former team in his most recent start on Sunday, surrendering two runs on three hits while pitching eight innings for the first time this season.

Hughes won his lone career matchup with the Astros in 2010.

Houston has won five straight games on the road while rapping out at least 11 hits in each game and totaling 34 runs with a .328 batting average for the five.

"The hitters are doing their job. The pitchers have been doing tremendous. We have been playing really good defense," second baseman Jose Altuve said. "It seems like we are putting everything together."

Keuchel had won four straight decisions before his most recent start, which resulted in a 4-1 loss to Baltimore after he allowed three runs in six innings in a 4-1 loss.

In the four wins, he'd compiled a 1.05 ERA and got 21 runs of support.

He has never faced the Twins.

On Thursday in Minnesota, Carlos Gomez, Khris Davis and Jonathan Lucroy all belted home runs to power the Brewers to an 8-5 victory over the Twins that completed a four-game, home-and-home set.

Kevin Correia (2-7) allowed two of the Brewers' long balls and 10 hits overall while permitting five runs in five innings. Oswaldo Arcia finished 2-for-4 before exiting the contest in the sixth with a sprained right ankle.

On Wednesday in Houston, George Springer drove in three runs to help the Astros claim an 8-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the rubber match of a three-game set.

Jose Altuve went 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored, while Dexter Fowler collected two hits, an RBI and scored twice for the Astros.

Brad Peacock (2-4) picked up the win after giving up three runs on six hits over five frames. Chad Qualls stranded runners on second and third in the ninth to notch his sixth save of the season.

Minnesota won five of its six matchups with the Astros last season.