(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Twins look to keep their strong start to the month of May going when they take on the division-rival Cleveland Indians Saturday at Progressive Field.
The Twins will send Phil Hughes to the mound for the start, as the 31-year-old righty hopes to string a pair of wins together after a rough start to the year. The Indians counter with 16-year veteran Bruce Chen, who was called up from Triple-A Columbus to be the fifth starter.
Hughes lost his first four starts this season as his Twins failed to generate any sort of run support, combining for four runs in that four-game stretch with Hughes on the mound. But he was finally able to get in the win column in his last outing against Oakland, lasting six innings and allowing nine hits with five runs. Minnesota posted eight runs in the contest and took the 8-7 victory.
Hughes' earned run average ballooned to 5.02, however. But in six starts this season, Hughes has only walked four batters. Conversely, Hughes has struck out 28, so the accuracy is there. The right-hander is looking to improve on an impressive 2014 campaign in which he posted a 16-10 record with a 3.52 ERA.
The 37-year-old Chen is making a spot start for the Indians after getting off to a hot start with Columbus. This will be his 2015 debut. So far in the minors, Chen has posted a 2-1 record with a 1.74 ERA, 23 strikeouts and three walks in 31 innings of work.
Chen appeared in 13 games for Kansas City last season, which included seven starts and a 2-4 record. In his career versus the Twins, Chen has appeared in 27 games and made 13 starts. He owns a 5-8 record against Minnesota lifetime with a career 5.63 ERA, 67 strikeouts and 29 walks in 96 innings pitched.
The Twins and Indians were knotted at 2-2 after three innings of play Friday night, but the visitors were able to separate themselves for the 9-3 victory.
Mike Pelfrey kept his unblemished record intact after tossing seven innings of six-hit, two-run baseball. It was also a stellar game for Torii Hunter offensively. The right fielder went 4-for-4 at the plate with two doubles, a home run and four RBI, also crossing home plate twice himself.
"This offense is clicking, so I'm just trying to go out there and eat up as many innings as I can," said Pelfrey.
Trevor Bauer picked up the loss for Cleveland after lasting five innings and allowing nine hits and five runs with five strikeouts.
Carlos Santana, Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall provided the Indians with their three runs in defeat.
The Twins stretched their season series advantage to three games to one against the Indians with the win.