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Philadelphia at Minnesota

Venue: Target Field

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 image  Thunderstorms. High level clouds. Mild.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Philadelphia5th NL East6981.46017 ½ 4-6 L 2
Minnesota5th AL Central6387.420212-8 L 1
vs P.J. Walters
vs Cole Hamels
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Game Odds
Philadelphia -140 Minnesota 130
M. HollandsElbow
C. LeeElbow
J. PapelbonSuspension
J. RollinsHamstring
T. MiloneNeck
M. PelfreyGroin
Series Game Log
Apr 25MINDET 10-6Porcello Correia 
Apr 26MINMIN 5-3Hughes Ortega 
Apr 27MINPPD   
May 9DETMIN 2-1Hughes Verlander 
May 10DETDET 9-3Scherzer Gibson 
May 11DETMIN 4-3Burton Chamberlain 
Jun 13DETMIN 2-0Gibson Smyly 
Jun 14DETDET 12-9Sanchez Deduno 
Jun 15DETDET 4-3Nathan Fien 
Aug 22MINMIN 20-6Pressly Ray 
Aug 23MINMIN 12-4Pino Farmer 
Aug 23MINDET 8-6Verlander May 
Aug 24MINDET 13-4Scherzer Gibson 
Sep 15MINDET 8-6Ryan Fien 
Sep 16MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 17MIN 8:10 PM EDT  
Sep 25DET 7:08 PM EDT  
Sep 26DET 7:08 PM EDT  
Sep 27DET 7:08 PM EDT  
Sep 28DET 1:08 PM EDT