Mauer Pushes Hit Streak To 15 Games

Mauer has been on a tear.

C Joe Mauer went 3-for-5 with two home runs and three RBIs, extending his hitting streak to 15 games. He's batting .524 during that time, pushing his AL-best batting average to .381 after it fell to a season-low .353 on Aug. 1.

Right-hander Philip Humber joined the Twins in his home state of Texas in time for Tuesday's game. Humber, who had been scheduled to start for Class AAA Rochester on Tuesday, was available immediately out of the bullpen and allowed a run and three hits in 1 2/3 innings.

Humber was 7-7 with a 5.29 ERA for the Red Wings this season but said in the last month he'd begun to feel more comfortable -- and have better results -- on the mound. The pitcher, acquired before the 2008 season in the Johan Santana trade with the Mets, started the season with the Twins but cleared waivers and ended up back in Rochester early in the year.

"When I ended up clearing (waivers), that was kind of a different deal. I was expecting to get claimed and maybe go somewhere else, but when it finally went down it was like, you know what, this is probably the best thing for me," Humber said. "I wasn't obviously performing well here. I needed to make some adjustments, and going down to the minor leagues was an opportunity to do that. I felt like I had to take a couple steps back to take a step forward."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire acknowledged Humber has been throwing better of late but said the best pitcher in Class AAA is Armando Gabino. Gabino threw more than 90 pitches in a start Sunday, so he couldn't help the Twins immediately, and that's what the team needed.

"Eventually we might see Gabino up here," Gardenhire said. "He's throwing the ball well, probably deserves a shot like all the other guys. But right now it's necessity to get a pitcher up here that can throw."

TWINS 9, RANGERS 6: Minnesota fought back from a 5-0 deficit to tie the score at 5-5, only to have Texas take the lead right back. But Joe Mauer's second homer of the game tied the score again in the seventh, and Delmon Young's two-run shot in the same inning offered some insurance.

NOTES, QUOTES:

  • LHP Brian Duensing will start on Saturday in Kansas City, manager Ron Gardenhire said, as long as the Twins aren't forced to use him in the bullpen between now and then. If they do have to use him, RHP Philip Humber could start.

  • SS Orlando Cabrera was out of the lineup on Monday for the first time since joining the Twins at the trade deadline. The 34-year-old, who'd played in 115 games through Sunday and was batting .286 since becoming a Twin, told the team he was feeling a bit weary. INF Brendan Harris started in his place, but Cabrera pinch hit in late innings.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 0-4 - RHP Nick Blackburn's record in his five starts since his last victory, July 10 over the White Sox. He has a 13.31 ERA in that span and failed to get out of the third inning in three of his past five starts.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "Most teams, they watch Joe Mauer. Our guys pay attention to it, but they could even pay a little more attention to it." -- Twins hitting coach Joe Vavra.

    ROSTER REPORT:

  • C Joe Mauer went 3-for-5 with two home runs and three RBIs, extending his hitting streak to 15 games. He's batting .524 during that time, pushing his AL-best batting average to .381 after it fell to a season-low .353 on Aug. 1.

    "They pitch him in, he hits a homer to left, they pitch away, he hits a homer to center," 1B Justin Morneau said. "They're running of out ways to try to figure out how to get him out. ... It's amazing, but nothing he really does surprises me."

  • RHP Carl Pavano lasted just four innings. He gave up five runs and seven hits and said the problems arose when he strayed from his pitching plan and lost command of his location. Pavano has given up 10 runs in his last two starts.

  • 1B Justin Morneau was out of the starting lineup with lingering effects from an inner-ear infection, the team said. Morneau left Monday's game after three innings because of dizziness. He's officially listed as day to day and will be re-evaluated Wednesday.

  • DH Jason Kubel left in the first inning after fouling a ball off the side of his left knee during an at-bat. He is listed as day to day.
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