The Minnesota Twins are set to open a nine-game homestand on Friday, as they begin a three-game set with the Baltimore Orioles at Target Field.
The Twins are coming off three straight wins over the Red Sox in Boston as they wrapped up a 10-game road swing. Oswaldo Arcia was the hero in Thursday's 5-3 victory. One day after notching a career-high four hits in Wednesday's 15-8 triumph, the right fielder rang in his 22nd birthday with a home run and a triple to power the offense.
"He's a fun kid to watch with the bat," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Watching him come up here and swing the bat is a lot of fun."
Baltimore is only percentage points behind the AL East-leading Yankees. The Orioles had a season-best four-game win streak come to a halt in Thursday's 6-2 setback to the Royals. Starter Freddy Garcia gave up a pair of two-run home runs in the fourth inning, and the O's were never able to recover. Chris Davis went deep for the 10th time this season, but it was an otherwise quiet night for the offense.
"We scored two runs tonight," manager Buck Showalter said. "Freddy gave us a chance to win. He paid for the few mistakes he made with the ball leaving the park."
The Orioles hope to get another solid outing from Jason Hammel, who has won all five of his road starts this season. Hammel gave up four runs in six innings against the Angels on Sunday as Baltimore claimed an 8-4 victory.
Another win here would tie him for the major league lead, and it would also make him the first pitcher since Josh Beckett in 2007 to win each of his first six road starts. While Hammel has yet to allow more than four earned runs in any of his starts, he has also enjoyed an average of more than eight runs of support per outing.
"I still haven't really gotten it going, and I haven't been as good as labeled, I guess," Hammel said. "So I still have some work to do. I'm (getting) a lot of run support right now, and the bullpen's been awesome. It's that simple."
Meanwhile, Minnesota will turn to Mike Pelfrey, who is coming off his sharpest outing of the season. The right-hander held a hot Indians offense to one run on four hits on Sunday, as he struck out seven batters in six innings.
In his four previous starts, Pelfrey was 1-3 with a 10.36 ERA.
Minnesota took two of three from the Orioles from April 5-7.