Vogelsong tries to stop the bleeding vs. Twins

June 22, 2011, 2:29 pm
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June 22, 2011

MINNESOTA (32-39) vs.
GIANTS (39-34)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins pulled off a stunning feat at the plate during their first game against the San Francisco Giants in six years.

Scoring runs, though, might prove difficult for both teams with the Twins' Nick Blackburn and the Giants' Ryan Vogelsong scheduled to start Wednesday night at AT&T Park.

Minnesota (32-39) tied a major league record with eight consecutive hits to open its 9-2 victory in Tuesday's series opener. Ben Revere scored the first of his team's eight runs in the opening frame and doubled home the final two.

Joe Mauer also recorded his first two-hit game since returning from the 60-day disabled list and drove in a run. Five other Twins, including Revere, finished with two hits apiece and each starting position player hit safely.

Minnesota, winners in a season-high eight in a row and 15 of 17, might have trouble repeating that performance against Vogelsong (4-1, 1.92 ERA), who has not allowed more than two runs in eight consecutive outings.

The right-hander, however, has one win in his last six starts and did not get a decision Thursday in Arizona while allowing two runs over six innings.

"Another great effort," manager Bruce Bochy told the team's website. "He threw well. It would have been nice to have gotten him a win, but he certainly did all he could."

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Blackburn (6-4, 3.16), meanwhile, is seeking his career-high sixth consecutive win and has a 2.29 ERA over his last nine starts. He's also coming off his best performance over that stretch.

Blackburn scattered seven hits and walked one in eight innings Thursday to outduel four-time All-Star Mark Buehrle for a 1-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

"He's in complete control of the games," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

In his first matchup with the Giants (39-34), Blackburn will try to continue a dominant run for Minnesota's pitching staff, which owns a 1.88 ERA over the past 17 games.

The Twins are hoping another strong effort will help them record their first nine-game win streak since winning 10 in a row from June 17-27, 2008.

The Giants, who trail Arizona by one-half game in the NL West, are on their longest skid since dropping seven in a row June 26-July 2. Over its five straight defeats, San Francisco has scored nine runs - batting .031 (1 for 32) with runners in scoring position and .196 overall.

Minnesota, meanwhile, is batting .274 in its last 21 games - 28 points above its season average - and has 10 or more hits 13 times over that span.

Alexi Casilla has helped his team by batting .351 with eight doubles and 11 RBIs over his last 25 contests. He had two hits during Tuesday's win - a double and his second home run in as many games.

Michael Cuddyer is also batting .441 (15 for 34) during a 10-game hit streak with six doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs.

Vogelsong will try to quell that lineup in his first start against the Twins. He faced them once as a reliever in 2006 while with Pittsburgh, allowing three runs and five hits in one inning.

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