Originally posted on Fox Sports North
By ASSOCIATED PRESS  |  Last updated 8/3/13
The Minnesota Twins just picked up a much-needed home victory. Kyle Gibson didn't come close to winning the last time he pitched at Target Field. The rookie right-hander will make his first home start in nearly a month Saturday night when Minnesota continues its series with the Houston Astros. After the Twins' major league-worst rotation posted a 7.65 ERA during the club's four-game losing streak, Samuel Deduno worked around five walks and allowed two runs in six innings Friday before Minnesota (46-60) won 4-3 in 13 innings on Brian Dozier's game-winning single. Dozier, who's hit safely in a career-best nine straight, had a game-tying RBI single in the ninth after Houston (36-72) took a 3-2 lead on Matt Dominguez's run-scoring double off All-Star closer Glen Perkins. "A much-needed win for the team," Dozier said. "A confidence booster." After ending a four-game home skid in the series opener, the Twins will hand the ball to Gibson (2-3, 6.21 ERA), who was tagged for eight runs and 11 hits in his last start at Minneapolis, a 9-5 loss to the New York Yankees on July 4. He's made four road starts since, most recently giving up five runs over five innings in Sunday's 6-4 loss to Seattle. Gibson has surrendered two homers in each of his last two starts after not yielding any in his first four. "This is the second game in a row I haven't gotten strike one," he told the Twins' official website. "As soon as I get strike one it's going to be a whole lot easier for me." Getting ahead of hitters could also extend Gibson's outings. He's failed to pitched past the sixth in any of his starts since his late June call-up. Astros starters have been outstanding over the past 11 games, posting a 3.33 ERA while at least pitching into the seventh five times, but the bullpen has been an issue. Houston's bullpen has a 6.53 ERA in that stretch, and it gave up runs in the eighth and ninth Friday. "We had opportunities to close it out and just didn't get the job done," manager Bo Porter said. "It's definitely a concern. It's pretty obvious that we've had problems in our bullpen." Erik Bedard (3-8, 4.28) will try to keep the Astros' trend of strong starts going, and he's posted a 2.20 ERA in his last three but has lost them all while getting just two runs of support. The left-hander is making his first start in nine days after being scratched prior to Wednesday's trade deadline. Bedard obviously wasn't dealt, so he'll get another chance with Houston to snap his five-start losing streak. He held Toronto to a run and three hits over five innings July 25 in a 4-0 loss. "He's been doing a great job of really attacking guys," catcher Jason Castro said. "He's got very good stuff, he's got a ton of movement on his pitches." Bedard is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in three starts since 2011 against the Twins - one each with the Mariners, Red Sox and Pirates - though he hasn't pitched in Minnesota since August of that year while with Boston. Justin Morneau, who had his second straight multi-hit game Friday, has faced Bedard more than any Twin. He's 11 for 29 with two homers and two doubles. Astros second baseman Jose Altuve may return Saturday after missing the past two games with a sore left quad.
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