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News » Blue Jays-Twins Preview 2009-04-16

Blue Jays-Twins Preview 2009-04-16

Blue Jays-Twins Preview 2009-04-16
The Toronto Blue Jays are in position to win their third consecutive series to open 2009. With Roy Halladay's turn in the rotation up next, there's a good chance for that to happen.

On Thursday, Halladay looks to win his third straight start and help the Blue Jays take a four-game road series from the Minnesota Twins, a team he's never lost to during his career.

Toronto (7-3) beat Minnesota 12-2 on Wednesday and has won two of the first three in the set, while improving to 4-2 on a seven-game road trip.

Though it's very early, the Blue Jays - second in the majors with 68 runs - sit atop the AL East standings after winning 86 games to finish fourth in the division last season.

"We're all thrilled," Halladay said. "We've scored a lot of runs and our pitching has been pretty good. It's a matter of keeping all of that going."

Halladay (2-0, 3.86 ERA) has certainly contributed to the team's early success. A 20-game winner and the runner up to Cleveland's Cliff Lee in the 2008 AL Cy Young Award balloting, Halladay allowed one run and five hits while striking out seven in seven innings to outpitch Lee in the Blue Jays' 5-4 win over the Indians on Saturday.

"That's Doc," Toronto manager Cito Gaston said of the right-hander. "You kind of expect that out of him."

The Blue Jays have come to expect a victory each time their ace takes the mound versus Minnesota.

Halladay, who allowed five runs in seven innings of a 12-5 win over Detroit in the season opener, is 7-0 with a 2.71 ERA in nine starts against the Twins.

That history doesn't bode well for the Twins (4-6), whose inconsistent offense was held to four hits Wednesday and has been outscored 22-11 by Toronto in this series.

Aaron Hill went 4-for-5 and hit one of the four home runs for the Blue Jays, who had 16 hits after recording 19 in an 8-6 win in Monday's series opener. Scott Rolen hit a two-run homer and Vernon Wells a solo shot for Toronto, which has gone deep seven times in the set.

Looking to revive his career in his second season in Toronto, Rolen is 6-for-13 with three RBIs in the series and batting .389 in nine games. Hill, meanwhile, is 7-for-15 in the series.

The Twins, whose starting pitchers have a 6.75 ERA in the series, hope Francisco Liriano (0-2, 6.94) can get back on track after a pair of sub-par outings with hardly any run support.

Liriano allowed five runs and six hits while walking four in 4 2-3 innings of an 8-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. He gave up four runs in seven innings of a 6-1 season-opening loss to Seattle on April 6.

"From his last start to this start, the numbers aren't going to tell the whole story," catcher Mike Redmond told the Twins' official Web site.

The left-hander will make his first start against Toronto, but pitched two scoreless innings of relief against the Blue Jays in 2006.

Justin Morneau went 1-for-3 with a run scored Wednesday for Minnesota. He is 8-for-17 in his last four games, but 1-for-9 with three strikeouts against Halladay.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 16, 2009

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