The Philadelphia Phillies have hit a rough spot after their best stretch of the season.
So have the Minnesota Twins .
Cole Hamels will try to build on his first victory in more than five weeks Tuesday night when the Phillies and Twins open their three-game series in Minneapolis.
After a five-game winning streak helped the club move above .500 for the first time in 2013, Philadelphia (31-33) dropped its final three games at lowly Milwaukee over the weekend."We've got to stay up and just keep playing," manager Charlie Manuel said after Sunday's 9-1 defeat. "We'll see if we can't take it out on Minnesota."
Hamels (2-9, 4.56 ERA) gets the ball in the opener after ending a career-worst six-start losing streak with a season-high 11 strikeouts in Wednesday's 6-1 victory over Miami. The left-hander gave up one run and four hits in seven innings for his first win since April 28."I was trying to be too fine, trying to make perfect pitches," Hamels said of his previous struggles.
The former World Series MVP was anything but perfect in his only career start at Target Field, a 9-8 victory June 13 when he was charged with a season-high seven runs in six-plus innings.
He earned the win, though, as the Phillies plated six first-inning runs - including four off Tuesday's starter, P.J. Walters (2-1, 3.00). The right-hander lasted just 15 pitches and did not record an out due to stiffness in his throwing shoulder that would land him on the DL the following day.
Walters is now set to make his fourth start since getting called up to replace former Phillie Vance Worley . Walters went six innings in Wednesday's 4-1 loss at Kansas City, allowing three unearned runs following a first-inning throwing error by Pedro Florimon ."Earned or not, they're still my runs," Walters said.
He's not the only Twins pitcher that's had to deal with shoddy defense, as Minnesota has committed four errors during its 1-4 skid after being charged with one during its previous 15 games.
The Twins' offense also needs work after going 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position and totaling four runs while being swept in a doubleheader at Washington on Sunday. Minnesota is 4 for 50 (.080) with runners in scoring position over the last five games.
"We thought we hit it better than the runs out on the board, but it didn't come out that way," manager Ron Gardenhire told the club's official website.
Minnesota (27-33) now goes for its fifth win in six home games as it begins a stretch of nine straight at Target Field.
Center fielder Ben Revere will make his return to Minnesota after getting traded to Philadelphia in December in the Worley deal. Revere has been a disappointment with the Phillies, hitting .244 with a .562 OPS that's among the worst of all qualifying players.
Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks (.575 OPS) hasn't been much better, and he's on the DL after suffering a hamstring injury in Sunday's nightcap. Journeyman Clete Thomas filled in and could be in center Tuesday, though Minnesota also will recall outfielder Oswaldo Arcia from Triple-A Rochester.
The Phillies had to put catcher Eric Kratz on the 15-day DL with a left knee injury suffered Saturday, so Humberto Quintero is expected to be behind the plate Tuesday.
Quintero went deep Sunday to extend the Phillies' home run streak to 14 straight games - their longest such run since an 18-game stretch in 2008. Domonic Brown , the NL home run leader with 19, has 10 of his team's 24 in that stretch.
The Phillies totaled 22 runs while taking two of three at Target Field last June 12-14.
|June 09, 2013||Erik Kratz||15-Day DL||Left knee injury|
|May 22, 2013||Chase Utley||Day-to-Day||Sore Ribcage|
|May 21, 2013||Chase Utley||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|May 20, 2013||Ryan Howard||Day-to-Day||Sore left knee|
|May 20, 2013||Carlos Ruiz||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|May 19, 2013||Carlos Ruiz||Day-to-Day||Strained right hamstring|
|June 10, 2013||Aaron Hicks||15-Day DL||Left hamstring strain|
|June 01, 2013||Justin Morneau||Day-to-Day||Illness|
|May 29, 2013||Trevor Plouffe||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
|May 26, 2013||Wilkin Ramirez||7-Day DL||Head injury|
|May 23, 2013||Pedro Florimon||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained right index finger|
|May 22, 2013||Trevor Plouffe||7-Day DL||Concussion|
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Even though he's not hitting a lot of home runs, Justin Morneau is still making an impact for the Twins offense.
Morneau hit the go-ahead single in the eighth inning to cap a three-hit night and carry Minnesota to a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday.
"Right now I still feel like I'm having productive at-bats and still helping us win ball games," said Morneau, who is hitting .297 and leads the Twins with 36 RBIs.
"It'll come if I keep hitting the ball hard. Obviously, it's frustrating. But doing different things to help us win, I think I can live with that."
The Twins entered Tuesday with just four hits in their past 50 at-bats with runners in scoring position, but got three hits in clutch situations against Philadelphia.
"Watching TV, we saw the numbers scrolling across. They weren't very good," Morneau said. "To be able to come through in that situation is good for everybody. Hopefully it gets us rolling in the right direction."
Jamey Carroll - who had two hits and snapped a 0-for-24 slump - drew a walk to start the eighth off reliever Mike Adams (1-4) and ended up on third after a Joe Mauer single and a fielder's choice.
Josh Willingham fouled out before Morneau fouled off four straight pitches and lined a single up the middle off Antonio Bastardo to give Minnesota the lead.
"Couldn't get him out at 1-2," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
The Phillies have lost four straight after winning five in a row to climb one game over .500.
Glen Perkins pitched a perfect ninth, striking out Freddy Galvis to end the game and secure his 14th save.
Twins starter P.J. Walters allowed two runs in 7 1-3 innings and was removed with runners on first and second.
"I liked our chances against him, but give the kid credit, he did good," Manuel said. "He got his breaking ball and changeup over and got ahead in counts on us, kind of pitched us backwards."
Right-hander Casey Fien originally trotted to the mound to relieve Walters, but was sent back soon after he arrived in favor of Bran Duensing.
Gardenhire said an umpire signaled for the righty even though he called for the lefty and yelled it twice.
"He thought it was a better move, maybe," Gardenhire joked.
Philadelphia tied it at 2 in the eighth when Ryan Howard 's single off Duensing (1-1) scored Kevin Frandsen .
Duensing struck out Jimmy Rollins , but Howard's grounder rolled through the right side of the infield to tie the game.
Cole Hamels had a 1-0 lead in the fourth before Willingham, Morneau and Oswaldo Arcia doubled to give Minnesota the lead.
Hamels allowed two runs and struck out five over six innings. The Phillies have won only two of Hamel's 14 starts.
"I probably threw a couple pitches at the wrong time for what they were looking for and they were able to put them in play," Hamels said.
Arcia's double short-hopped the wall and landed just out of the reach of Ben Revere , who had his back to the infield and leaped toward the ball at the last second.
Revere was traded to Philadelphia from Minnesota in the offseason. The speedy center fielder made spectacular catches at Target Field to take away similar hits last season.
Michael Young had Philadelphia's other RBI in the third.
NOTES: An MRI on Monday revealed a medical meniscus tear in Erik Kratz 's left knee, an injury that requires surgery and could knock out the Phillies' catcher for the rest of the season. Kratz was second on the team with eight home runs and hurt the knee running to first base in Saturday's loss to Milwaukee. ... Relievers Jared Burton (groin) and Ryan Pressly (shoulder) were unavailable for the Twins. Both are day to day. ... Revere on the Twins trading him: "They gave me a chance to be a major league player, and I just thank them every day for that." ... Willingham played in his 1,000th game, becoming the 93rd active player to do so. ... Mike Pelfrey (3-6, 6.40 ERA) starts for the Twins on Tuesday. Coming off Tommy John surgery, the right-hander has only managed to complete six innings or more in three of his 12 starts this season. ... Coming off a start where he shut out the Brewers over 6 2-3 innings, Tyler Cloyd (2-2, 3.68) takes the mound for Philadelphia on Tuesday.