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Minnesota at Baltimore

Venue: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
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The Baltimore Orioles are on the verge of their first home sweep of at least four games against the Minnesota Twins in 48 years, though they'll have to overcome a challenging matchup to accomplish that goal.

The AL East leaders seek their longest home winning streak of the season and 22nd victory in 28 games at Camden Yards on Monday when they try to keep Minnesota's Phil Hughes from earning his 15th victory.

Since a surprising three-game sweep at Wrigley Field last weekend, Baltimore (79-56) has bounced back with a 6-1 record on its current homestand following Sunday's 12-8 win.

Rookie Caleb Joseph had a career-high four hits, while Nick Markakis and David Lough added three apiece. Nelson Cruz hit his MLB-best 35th homer and J.J. Hardy had a grand slam as the club wrapped up August with a 19-9 mark.

The Orioles have averaged 7.3 runs while hitting .328 during a four-game winning streak to increase their division lead to nine games over the New York Yankees.

''Each time you win, you feel like you put yourself in a position each and every day to be closer to the goal,'' Joseph said. "The goal is to play in October."

Baltimore has a chance to complete its first home series sweep of at least four games from the AL Central-worst Twins (59-77) since taking a five-game set July 1-3, 1966.

Hughes (14-9, 3.70 ERA) stands in the way after his bid for a 15th win came crashing down Wednesday. He allowed four runs - all in Kansas City's six-run eighth inning - in a 6-1 road loss that ended his four-start winning streak.

"I think regardless of how the inning transpires, it's the same level of disappointment," Hughes told MLB's official website.

The right-hander did not surrender a walk for the third straight outing, extending his streak without more than one to 16 consecutive starts. He also owns a 2.06 ERA in his last five outings and is 8-4 with a 2.94 mark in 13 on the road.

The former Yankee gave up two runs over 6 1-3 innings in a 5-2 home win over the Orioles on May 4, but he's 2-2 with a 5.88 ERA in seven career starts at Camden Yards.

Newly acquired Alejandro De Aza is 3 for 6 with a homer off Hughes in 2014, but All-Star Adam Jones is batting .182 in 44 career at-bats in the matchup.

Jimmy Paredes has stepped up by going 5 for 11 with a homer and two doubles in this series after getting thrust into the lineup with Steve Pearce nursing a strained abdominal muscle.

Kevin Gausman (7-6, 3.84) is expected to return after matching the shortest start of his career Wednesday. He was optioned to Gulf Coast following the effort as the club looked to maximize every roster spot until September callups.

The right-hander hasn't allowed more than three runs in nine of his last 10 starts, going 4-4 with a 3.83 ERA. However, he'll try to get back on track after giving up three runs over four innings in a 3-1 home loss to Tampa Bay.

Minnesota hopes to build on Sunday's performance at the plate as it attempts to avert an eighth loss in nine games. Trevor Plouffe and Danny Santana hit two-run homers for the Twins, who have been outscored 24-11 in this series.

Brian Dozier had three hits and is batting .405 during a 10-game hitting streak.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Probable Starters

P. Hughes
Minnesota Last 3 Starts Baltimore
2-1 Wins-Losses 1-2
22.0 Innings Pitched 15.0
2.45 Earned Run Average 3.60
0 Walks 4
18 Strikeouts 13
0.86 WHIP 1.20

K. Gausman
Probable Pitchers
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Minnesota5th AL Central7092.432205-5 L 1
Baltimore1st AL East9666.593-4-6 W 1
 
 

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Injuries
Minnesota
PlayerInjury
M. PelfreyGroin
G. PerkinsElbow, Biceps
T. PlouffeForearm
Baltimore
PlayerInjury
C. DavisSuspension
P. JanishElbow
B. MatuszShoulder
M. WietersElbow
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
Apr 6TB 3:10 PM EDT  
Apr 7TB 7:10 PM EDT  
Apr 8TB 7:10 PM EDT  
May 1BAL 7:05 PM EDT  
May 2BAL 7:05 PM EDT  
May 3BAL 1:35 PM EDT  
May 29BAL 7:05 PM EDT  
May 30BAL   
May 31BAL 1:35 PM EDT  
Jul 24TB 7:10 PM EDT  
Jul 25TB   
Jul 26TB 1:10 PM EDT  
Aug 31BAL 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 1BAL 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 2BAL 7:05 PM EDT  
Sep 17TB 7:10 PM EDT  
Sep 18TB   
Sep 19TB   
Sep 20TB 1:10 PM EDT