This is not suggesting that the Twins rotation is made up of a stable of horses, but at least they are pitching into the sixth inning. That's an improvement over some of the outings earlier in the season.

A Twins starter has pitched into the sixth inning in seven straight games. Ricky Nolasco has been the most consistent at it, pitching into the sixth inning in 10 straight outings. Ervin Santana, today's starter, has reached the sixth inning in five straight starts. In a perfect world, you'd want that extended one more inning. But the Twins at least have cut back on the early exits from ballgames, and the bullpen is appreciative of it.

Twins manager Paul Molitor is trying to be careful with his relievers, especially righthander Ryan Pressly, who began the day second in the AL with 46 appearances. So outings like last night, when Tommy Milone pitched 8.1 innings, mean a lot.

Watch out for Byron Buxton today. He hasn't had a bunt hit since June 5 against Drew Smyly, and Molitor has been dropping hints to him about looking for the right situation to try it again. He has never faced Detroit's Justin Verlander, so he night give it a shot today. Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos likes to charge in or back off at the last second, so Buxton will have to be mindful of that as he looks for his chance.

Verlander struck out 10 Twins over 7.1 innings on May 18 at Comerica Park.

Kurt Suzuki gets to play a  day game following a night game, the result of his hot bat.

If you haven't read my Q and A with Rob Antony, here it is again. I have plenty left over from the interview, and will post it around midday tomorrow after I arrive in Boston.

Tyler Collins was a late scratch because of a stiff neck. Mike Aviles has replaced him in the lineup.


Eduardo Nunez, SS
Joe Mauer, 1B
Miguel Sano, 3B
Brian Dozier, 2B
Max Kepler, RF
Kennys Vargas, DH
Eddie Rosario, LF
Kurt Suzuki, C
Byron Buxton, CF

Ervin Santana, RHP


Ian Kinsler, 2B
Cameron Maybin, CF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Victor Martinez, DH
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Justin Upton, LF
Mike Aviles, RF
James McCann, C
Austin Romine, SS

Justin Verlander, RHP

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Twins start second half hoping recent improvement is permanent

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Buxton gets a break as Twins face Boston knuckleballer Wright