Minnesota Twins (59-75) at Baltimore Orioles (77-56)
Saturday, August 30 - 7:05 PM EST
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
Chris Davis is having a horrific season but his power stroke has done damage over the last five games as Baltimore continues its run toward the American League East crown. Davis, batting .189, hit a grand slam in the opener of a four-game series with the Minnesota Twins – the second contest is Saturday – and has three homers and seven RBIs during the recent stretch. Baltimore’s 9-1 win was its fourth in five games while Minnesota has lost five of six.
The Orioles possess a seven-game lead over the New York Yankees in the division and the club has opened contract talks with potential free agent Nelson Cruz, who leads the AL with 34 homers. “I don’t want to be a distraction with stuff like that, with contracts,” Cruz told reporters. “Even though, like you said, I would like it to be done before (the season ends).” The Twins have scored just one run in each of their last three losses.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), MASN (Baltimore)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Kyle Gibson (11-10, 4.31 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Chris Tillman (11-5, 3.41)
Gibson has allowed five runs and eight hits in each of his last two starts, going 0-1 in 10 innings during the span. The short outings continue an up-and-down stretch in which he has allowed five or more earned runs in six of his last 11 turns. Gibson, who was never faced Baltimore in his 35 major-league starts, is 7-6 with a 4.36 ERA in 15 road outings this season.
Tillman has won four consecutive starts and is unbeaten in his last eight decisions. He defeated Tampa Bay in his last outing when he gave up one unearned run and three hits in seven innings. Tillman is 0-3 with a 6.06 ERA in four career outings against Minnesota.
1. Twins 3B Trevor Plouffe homered for the team’s lone run in the opener and the blast was the 10,000th in franchise history, the first 7,214 coming when the team was known as the Washington Senators.
2. Baltimore OF/1B Steve Pearce (abdominal strain) left Friday’s game after three innings as his 11-game hitting streak came to an end.
3. Minnesota LF Jordan Schafer is 13-for-30 with eight runs scored during a nine-game hitting streak.
PREDICTION: Orioles 5, Twins 3