Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

Surging Twins send Blackburn to the mound against Oakland

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: September 17, 2010 - 5:22 PM

The Twins are 12-2 in September, and as well as they've played, logic says they're bound to come back to Earth sometime.

Yes, they are back at Target Field, where they've built the American League's best home record, at 48-23, but this has the feel of a trap series. Oakland is loaded with pitching, with an AL-best 3.59 ERA, and it would be impossible for the Twins to feel the same intensity this weekend that they just felt during that sweep at The Cell.

It will be interesting to see if Manager Ron Gardenhire pulls up the reins with the division lead at nine games. (Corrected, thanks krsteve.)

Nick Blackburn has been outstanding of late -- 2-2 with a 1.71 ERA and an opponents batting average of .176 in his past five games. The A's counter with talented 22-year-old lefthander Brett Anderson.

Update: Joe Mauer is not in the lineup, which is not a surprise with the Twins and A's coming back with a noon start on Saturday and Oakland using lefthanders for both games (Dallas Braden on Saturday).

Update: Denard Span was scratched (will find out why soon), so Ben Revere will be getting his first major league start, batting leadoff and playing center field.

Update: Span injured his right shoulder diving for a ball on Thursday and was sore swinging the bat today, explaining why he was scratched. ... Jason Kubel will have his sore left wrist examined by team doctors tonight but said he had no plans to get another MRI exam. Gardenhire said the Twins are targeting Sunday for Kubel's return. ... Gardenhire confirmed what he said on AM-1500 today, that Scott Baker could get a chance to spot start soon, giving others some extra rest between starts. Baker is scheduled to throw another bullpen session Saturday.

ATHLETICS (72-73)

1. Coco Crisp, CF
2. Daric Barton, 1B
3. Mark Ellis, 2B
4. Jack Cust, DH
5. Kurt Suzuki, C
6. Rajai Davis, CF
7. Akinori Iwamura, 3B
8. Chris Carter, LF
9. Cliff Pennington, SS

Starting pitcher: LH Brett Anderson (5-6, 2.94 ERA)

TWINS (88-58)

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
3. Delmon Young, LF
4. Michael Cuddyer, 1B
5. Jim Thome, DH
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. J.J. Hardy, SS
8. Jason Repko, RF
9. Drew Butera, C

Starting pitcher: RH Nick Blackburn (9-9, 5.51 ERA)

Target Field. First pitch: 7:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network

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