Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 9/5/13
The Minnesota Twins hope the success achieved on their recent road trip will provide them with enough momentum to end their long home slide. They'll look to avoid an eighth consecutive defeat at Target Field on Friday night against the Toronto Blue Jays. Though Minnesota (61-77) fell 6-5 at Houston on Wednesday, it took four of six against the Astros and Texas to win consecutive series for the first time since taking three straight July 12-24. "That's not bad," manager Ron Gardenhire told the Twins' official website. "Any time you go on a road trip and you win more than you lose, that's good." What would be better is if the Twins can end the seven-game home skid during which they've been outscored 41-13 and held to one run in each of the last four. Minnesota last dropped eight straight at home during a nine-game slide April 27-May 23, 2011. Facing Toronto (64-76), winner of 32 of 42 against the Twins and 14 of 18 at Target Field, may make snapping that streak difficult. Minnesota reached R.A. Dickey (11-12, 4.30 ERA) for six runs in seven innings of a 6-0 victory July 6, but the right-hander has allowed four runs over 14 1-3 innings to win back-to-back starts for the first time since June 26-July 1. He yielded two runs in eight frames of a 4-2 victory over Kansas City on Saturday. Despite losing 4-3 in 10 innings at Arizona on Wednesday, the Blue Jays have won seven of 10. "They are doing a nice job, they're playing some pretty good baseball right now," manager John Gibbons told the Blue Jays' official website. Toronto hopes to continue its solid play without slugger Jose Bautista, who is done for the season with a hip injury. Bautista hit .259 with 28 home runs and 73 RBIs in 118 games but has been on the disabled list since Aug. 21. "Realistically, a week or so from now when he's ready to go and cranks it up to get back into shape, the season will be pretty much over, so it makes perfect sense to shut him down," Gibbons said. Minnesota star Joe Mauer has been out since Aug. 20 with a concussion and it's uncertain when he'll return. The Twins hand the ball to Mike Pelfrey (5-10, 4.86), who's gone 1-0 with a 2.88 ERA in his past four starts. He's allowed two runs in 12 innings over the latest two, but didn't get a decision in either as his teammates totaled a run each time in a pair of losses. Pelfrey gave up one run and struck out seven in seven innings of a 2-1 defeat at Texas on Saturday. Though the right-hander is 0-4 with a 5.67 ERA in his last 10 home starts, he gave up three hits in six innings when he opposed Dickey on July 6. Toronto's Edwin Encarnacion has gone 10 for 23 with three doubles, three homers and six RBIs in his last seven games, but is 1 for 11 with a home run against Pelfrey. Minnesota's Alex Presley is 7 for 18 with a home run and five RBIs in four games since he was acquired from Pittsburgh in the Justin Morneau deal.
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