American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, August 12
(All times Eastern)
Minnesota Twins (53-64) vs. Houston Astros (49-70), 8:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Minnesota - Yohan Pino (1-4, 4.59)
Houston - Collin McHugh (4-9, 3.18)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Joe Mauer knows how to make a return entrance.
The face of the Minnesota franchise arrived from a prolonged injury absence
with game-winning hit on Monday and will try to keep his momentum going when
the Twins visit the Houston Astros for the second game of a three-game series
at Minute Maid Park.
Mauer had hit in 12 straight games before heading to the disabled list with an
oblique injury in early July, which led to a 34-game stint away from the team.
He was 2-for-4 in Monday's return, and arrived to the ballpark in time to bid
farewell to former teammate Josh Willingham, who was dealt to Kansas City
earlier in the day.
"I was on a high coming in and seeing everybody and then to see one of our
guys go out that was pretty tough," Mauer said. "But then to win the ballgame
was a good way to end it."
In his last 13 games of activity, Mauer is hitting .373 with 13 runs batted
in. The Twins, who are 11 games under .500 overall, are a closer-to-
respectability 37-40 when he plays.
"This guy, I've always said he can get right out of bed and hit," manager Ron
The Astros have lost five of seven games, thanks in part to a continued anemic
output with runners in scoring position. Houston is batting .182 in that
situation over those seven games, and is just 1-for-12 in the last two games.
Hoping for some run support on the mound is Collin McHugh, who's winless in
his last nine starts -- including six losses -- since beginning the season at
4-3. He allowed just two runs in his last 13 1/3 innings, but has gotten no-
decisions in games against Toronto and Philadelphia.
McHugh was nicked for three runs in 4 1/3 innings of Houston's 14-5 win at
Minnesota in June.
He'll face Twins starter Yohan Pino, who was beaten, 3-0, by Oakland on
Thursday after allowing three runs in 5 2/3 innings. He's 1-2 with a 5.85 ERA
in four road starts and hasn't won since beating Seattle on July 10.
"(Oakland was) aggressive," Pino said. "I was trying to throw the first pitch
for strikes and they were swinging at it. I feel I can do better."
On Monday, after Eduardo Escobar struck out to start the ninth, Jordan Schafer
and Brian Dozier worked walks against Josh Fields (2-5) around a pop out.
Mauer then shot a base hit through the hole on the left side to plate Schafer.
Dozier scored from first after Danny Santana hesitated getting the ball into
the infield to provide Minnesota its 4-2 win.
Mauer also smacked a double for the Twins, who have won two straight on the
heels of a four-game losing streak.
Lefty Tommy Milone, acquired from Oakland last month for Sam Fuld, made his
first start for Minnesota. He allowed two runs on eight hits and three walks
over six innings.
08/12 10:48:49 ET