MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins finally return home after an 11-day, 10-game road trip.
As they have for most of the season, the Twins fared relatively well on the latest road test — Sunday’s clunker against the San Francisco Giants notwithstanding.
Playing well at home has been a different story for the Twins, who are 12-18 at Target Field despite an impressive 20-9 mark on the road.
The one team that tripped the Twins up a bit on this latest West Coast swing was the Seattle Mariners, who pay a visit to Target Field for a four-game series beginning Monday. When Minnesota traveled to Safeco Field last week, the Mariners won two of three — via a lopsided 12-3 victory and a walk-off home run.
Now it is up to Minnesota, coming off a 6-4 trip, to flip the script both on the Mariners and on its own home-field woes.
Left-hander Adalberto Mejia (1-1, 4.18 ERA) will take to the mound for the Twins in his eighth career start — all this season. It will be the second time in as many outings that Mejia has faced the Mariners.
Mejia gave up just two hits against Seattle the last time out, but they were both home runs. Still, he allowed three runs in five innings on Wednesday, and he exited with a two-run lead. Mejia got a no-decision, however, in Minnesota’s 6-5 loss.
After lasting less than three innings in two of his first three starts this season, Mejia has found a groove. He has gone at least five innings in each of his past four starts, posting a 3.52 ERA during that stretch.
Just as important, the Twins won three of those four outings, the only defeat the walk-off loss in Seattle on Wednesday.
“I thought that I did my job and threw strikes,” Mejia told the St. Paul Pioneer Press after his start against Seattle. “I thought it was easier to find (the strike zone) just because they like to swing a lot.”
Right-hander Yovani Gallardo, Monday’s starter for the Mariners, opposed Mejia the last time out in Seattle. Gallardo (2-6, 6.26 ERA) received a no-decision after giving up five runs in seven innings.
Gallardo will be making his 11th career start against the Twins. He enters with a 3-2 record and a 3.39 ERA in 10 starts versus Minnesota.
However, Gallardo has struggled as of late, allowing five or more runs in three of his past four starts overall.
“I’ve been feeling great,” Gallardo told the Tacoma News Tribune earlier this month. “It’s the best that I’ve felt the last two or three years. You can just see it by the way the ball is coming out, velocity and everything. It’s just frustrating. I wish I had a better answer for you. I haven’t done my job this year.”
The Mariners (31-33) have hovered around the .500 mark for the past week. Their second straight win against the Twins last week pushed them to 30-30, but Minnesota won the series finale. Seattle then dropped two of three to the visiting Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend, including a 4-0 defeat Sunday.
The Twins (32-27) earned low-scoring wins at San Francisco on Friday and Saturday before falling 13-8 on Sunday.
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