THREE-GAME SERIES AT TARGET FIELD
Friday, 7:10 p.m. • FSN, 96.3-FM
RHP Kyle Gibson (8-9, 3.96 ERA) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (7-8, 2.39)
Saturday, 6:10 p.m. • FSN, 96.3-FM
RHP Mike Pelfrey (6-7, 3.69) vs. RHP Mike Fiers (6-9, 3.63)
Sunday, 1:10 p.m. • FSN, 96.3-FM
RHP Ervin Santana (2-4, 6.05) vs. RHP Lance McCullers (5-4, 3.12)
The Twins are opening a six-game homestand against the Astros and White Sox before heading to Houston next weekend. … The past week has been put the 2012 draft in the spotlight. CF Byron Buxton, the second overall pick that year, faced Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman, the fourth overall pick that year, on Sunday. Now Buxton will be opposite of Astros SS Carlos Correia, the first overall pick in 2012, this weekend. … One scout timed Buxton at 3.7 seconds from batter’s box to first base on his bunt single Wednesday at Tampa Bay, but he was at 3.5 during a bunt at Baltimore. Any time around 4.0 on a full swing for a righthanded batter is considered excellent. … LHP Brian Duensing has given up two home runs to Astros 1B Chris Carter in 10 at-bats, including a grand slam on June 8, 2014. Santana has held Colby Rasmus hitless in 11 at-bats against him, but fellow OF Carlos Gomez is 5-for-15 with a home run against him.
Kazmir is 2-3 with a 2.41 ERA in six starts since being traded from the Athletics on July 23. This will be his third start vs. the Twins this year. He gave up six runs in six innings in a 13-0 loss at Target Field on May 6 but took a shutout into the ninth inning in a 3-2 victory at Oakland on July 18. Since the trade for Kazmir, the Astros have the best team ERA (2.57) and best rotation ERA (2.60) in baseball. … Fiers is coming off his no-hitter against the Dodgers on Friday. He also has faced the Twins twice this year when he was with Milwaukee, going 0-1 with a 2.38 ERA. … Top prospect George Springer is on the disabled list because of a broken right wrist. The Twins drafted him in 2008 out of high school in the 48th round, but he didn’t sign. … Former Twins RHP Samuel Deduno pitched only 21 innings this season before undergoing season-ending hip surgery earlier this month. … Five Twins hitters are a combined 0-for-8 against Pat Neshek, but Eduardo Nunez does have a sacrifice fly against him.
La VELLE E. NEAL III