Philadelphia at Minnesota

Venue: Target Field
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The Minnesota Twins may be at the bottom of the AL Central, but Trevor Plouffe's production is one reason why they're one of the hottest teams in baseball.

A struggling rotation has the last-place Philadelphia Phillies looking every bit the part.

The Twins look to continue their resurgence as Cole Hamels tries to help the Phillies avoid a fourth straight loss Wednesday night at Target Field.

Minnesota (25-35) has been mired in the AL Central basement for most of the season, but has won 10 of 13 following a five-game skid to pull within one-half game of fourth-place Kansas City.

The Twins had three homers among 17 hits in Tuesday's series-opening 11-7 win over Philadelphia (29-34), matching a season high in scoring.

Plouffe went 3 for 5 with a homer and three RBIs, and is batting .417 with five homers and 12 RBIs in his last nine games. His 15 hits in that stretch are just one shy of the total from the season's first 32 games for the career .228 hitter.

"The team doing well helps a lot," Plouffe said. "When guys are hitting, it kind of helps you out. It's contagious. I say it all the time and it's true."

Ben Revere has also been hot, batting .417 in his last 14 games after driving in two runs with three hits Tuesday.

"We're making our hitting coach look pretty good right now," Revere said.

Revere and Plouffe teed off on the Phillies, who have dropped nine of 10 thanks in part to a 5.98 ERA from their rotation.

Five-time defending NL East champion Philadelphia is now in last place.

"What can I say? It seems like it's hard for us to get it," manager Charlie Manuel said. "It's hard for us to put together a solid game."

Manuel hopes Hamels (8-3, 2.93 ERA) can as he tries to avoid losing a third consecutive start for the first time since Aug. 7-19, 2010.

The left-hander has wasted a three-run lead in each of his last two outings, surrendering four runs and six hits in six innings of Thursday's 8-3 home loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I hate to lose, and I've got two losses (in my past two starts)," Hamels told the Phillies' official website. "It's frustrating because you want to battle. We get the lead and we're giving it up. That's the frustrating part. You kind of see a win in one hand, and see it kind of evaporate."

Perhaps a start on the road is what Hamels needs since he's 4-0 with a 2.50 ERA in five outings away from home this season.

He didn't get a decision in his only career start against the Twins, a home loss for the Phillies on June 19, 2010.

The Twins are slated to give the ball to P.J. Walters (2-1, 4.42), who will try to win for the first time in four starts. The right-hander has a 6.46 ERA and a .377 opponent batting average over his last three outings, but has not gotten a decision in that span.

He gave up five runs and eight hits - two homers - in five innings Friday. when Minnesota defeated the Chicago Cubs 8-7 in 10 innings.

Walters has never faced the Phillies.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

Cole Hamels, LHP
2012 stats
83.0 Innings Pitched 36.2
8-3 Wins-Losses 2-1
2.93 Earned Run Average 4.42
17 Walks 14
86 Strikeouts 23
106 Pitches Per Start 94
Career vs. opponent
7.0 Innings Pitched -
0-0 Wins-Losses ---
3.86 Earned Run Average -

P.J. Walters, RHP
Weather
weather image  Thunderstorms. High level clouds. Mild.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
73°F55°F13mph/SE57%72%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Philadelphia5th NL East7389.451233-7 L 2
Minnesota5th AL Central7092.432205-5 L 1
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs P.J. Walters
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Fontenot42001.500
Bastardo000000
Blanton000000
Diekman000000
Hamels000000
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Cole Hamels
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Morneau32101.667
Doumit93010.333
Willingham2882212.286
Burton000000
Butera000000
 

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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Philadelphia -140 Minnesota 130
Injuries
Philadelphia
PlayerInjury
A. BurnettHernia
M. HollandsElbow
C. LeeElbow
J. RollinsHamstring
Minnesota
PlayerInjury
M. PelfreyGroin
G. PerkinsElbow, Biceps
T. PlouffeForearm
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 6DET 1:08 PM EDT  
Apr 8DET 1:08 PM EDT  
Apr 9DET 1:08 PM EDT  
Apr 27MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Apr 28MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Apr 29MIN 1:10 PM EDT  
May 12DET 7:08 PM EDT  
May 13DET 7:08 PM EDT  
May 14DET 1:08 PM EDT  
Jul 9MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Jul 10MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Jul 11MIN   
Jul 12MIN 2:10 PM EDT  
Sep 14MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 15MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 16MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 25DET 7:08 PM EDT  
Sep 26DET 7:08 PM EDT  
Sep 27DET 1:08 PM EDT