May brings high hopes to Twins' bullpen

May brings high hopes to Twins' bullpen

MINNEAPOLIS -- Perhaps the Twins' biggest need as the non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches on Friday is a reliever or two who can help bridge the gap to closer Glen Perkins. Minnesota might have found part of its solution in-house.

Rookie Trevor May started the season in the rotation, but he was the odd man out when Ervin Santana returned from his 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs in early July. May has yet to throw a 1-2-3 inning from the bullpen in six appearances, though slowly but surely, he's been adapting, making four scoreless outings.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Strong outing unravels for Gibson in a flash

Strong outing unravels for Gibson in a flash

MINNEAPOLIS -- With All-Star closer Glen Perkins coming in to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning Saturday and the Twins' most consistent starter, Kyle Gibson, pitching Sunday, a series win over the Yankees looked inevitable. After all, the Twins had beaten up on New York the night before in a 10-1 rout, breaking out of the offensive slumber that had plagued them in their previous series.

But Perkins struggled with his location, blowing the save en route to a loss on Saturday and Gibson, who mostly cruised through the first five innings Sunday, had command problems in a six-run sixth as the Twins fell to the Yankees, 7-2, at Target Field.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Six-run sixth sinks Gibson, Twins vs. Yanks

Six-run sixth sinks Gibson, Twins vs. Yanks

MINNEAPOLIS -- Nathan Eovaldi pitched into the ninth inning, Chase Headley and Stephen Drew each homered and the Yankees improved to a season-high 13 games over .500 with a 7-2 victory over the Twins on Sunday at Target Field.

Drew hit a two-run homer and Headley lined a two-run single as part of a six-run sixth inning that knocked out Twins starter Kyle Gibson. That provided a large cushion for Eovaldi, who has received strong run support all season long and picked up his team-leading 10th victory.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Molitor not sweating Perkins' recent hiccups

Reliever Pressly progressing; GM Ryan focused on Twins' needs with Deadline nearing

Molitor not sweating Perkins' recent hiccups

MINNEAPOLIS -- Sometimes the best thing for a closer coming off a blown save is to get right back in there. At least that's how Twins manager Paul Molitor views it, so when a save situation arises, Glen Perkins will be right back in the middle of it for the Twins.

"If he gets back into the game, it means we're in a good position to win, so I would have no hesitation," Molitor said.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins to host Pirates for brief Interleague set

Twins to host Pirates for brief Interleague set

Two months ago, the Twins came into PNC Park and took two games from the Pirates. The Pirates will try to turn the tables while the Twins attempt to complete a four-game season sweep as the two clubs kick off a two-game set beginning Tuesday night at Target Field.

Though they still trail the Cardinals in the National League Central standings, the Pirates have been the Majors' best team since those two losses to the Twins. They were 18-22 on May 21. Since then, they've gone 39-19.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins set Buxton's timeline; 1 month 'a stretch'

Club believes rookie outfielder's rehab stint won't be brief

Twins set Buxton's timeline; 1 month 'a stretch'

MINNEAPOLIS -- Just shy of a month after placing Byron Buxton on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left thumb, the Twins have developed a plan for the rookie outfielder's return. Twins manager Paul Molitor said the "preliminary foundation," for the return was a bit drawn out.

On Friday, Buxton, who entered this season as the No. 1 overall prospect on MLBPipeline.com's Top 200 list, fielded some balls in the outfield, both on the ground and in the air. He also took some swings underwater, a practice that general manager Terry Ryan indicated is not uncommon.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Perkins' rare command lapse costs Twins

Closer struggles to locate in allowing pair of home runs during Yanks' comeback

Perkins' rare command lapse costs Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- Not too many players swing at the first pitch they see from Glen Perkins in the ninth inning. But on Saturday night at Target Field, Alex Rodriguez did, and he watched the ball soar over the center-field wall to tie the game shortly before a second homer off the Twins' closer set the Yankees up for an 8-5 victory. After starting the season a perfect 28-for-28 in save opportunities, Perkins has blown two of his last three.

Perkins blew his first save of the season last weekend and his second on Saturday, getting tagged for four runs. After Rodriguez's home run, John Ryan Murphy piled on with a three-run drive. Before Saturday, Perkins had given up just two home runs all season.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Molitor ejected for disputing strikeout call

Twins' manager tossed for second time in career after Hicks' strikeout

Molitor ejected for disputing strikeout call

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Paul Molitor was ejected for arguing with home-plate umpire Jeff Nelson after center fielder Aaron Hicks struck out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning of Saturday night's 8-5 loss to the Yankees.

The usually mild-mannered Molitor was animated with Nelson. Hicks tried to check his swing, and Nelson rung him up without appealing to third-base umpire Laz Diaz for help, at Molitor's request.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Unable to stop A-Rod, Twins stunned in ninth

Unable to stop A-Rod, Twins stunned in ninth

MINNEAPOLIS -- Alex Rodriguez celebrated the fifth three-homer game of his career, including a game-tying drive in the ninth inning, and John Ryan Murphy crushed a go-ahead three-run shot as the Yankees rallied for an 8-5 victory over Glen Perkins and the Twins on Saturday night at Target Field. 

Rodriguez hit a solo homer in the fourth and a two-run drive in the seventh off Minnesota starter Tommy Milone before hitting a line drive over the center-field wall on the first pitch he saw from Perkins in the ninth, giving him 23 homers in this improbable comeback campaign.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hughes mixes up looks to baffle ex-club

Righty holds Yankees to 7 singles over 7 shutout innings

Hughes mixes up looks to baffle ex-club

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins starter Phil Hughes entered Friday leading the American League in home runs surrendered. And facing the Yankees, the team that sat third in the Majors with 123 home runs, Hughes giving up a home run or two probably wouldn't've been surprising.

Instead, Hughes locked down against his former team, giving up just seven scattered singles across seven innings in a 10-1 victory and making necessary adjustments after the Yankees came out hitting him hard. It was his first start since June 3 without giving up a home run and his first scoreless outing of the season.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins pop 4 HRs as Hughes stifles Yanks

Twins pop 4 HRs as Hughes stifles Yanks

MINNEAPOLIS -- Phil Hughes pitched seven strong innings to best his former club while Miguel Sano paced a four-homer barrage, helping the Twins defeat the Yankees, 10-1, on Friday evening in the opener of a three-game series at Target Field.

Hughes limited New York to seven hits as he turned in his third start against the Bronx Bombers, with whom he spent the first seven years of his career. The scoreless effort marked the seventh quality start out of the last nine for Hughes, who walked none and struck out three.

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Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins, Plouffe prepare for baby's arrival

Third baseman's wife expected to deliver during homestand

Twins, Plouffe prepare for baby's arrival

MINNEAPOLIS -- By the time the Twins' current homestand ends in early August, third baseman Trevor Plouffe expects to be a father. His wife, Olivia, is due Saturday, and Plouffe said the latest his firstborn, a son, is coming would be Wednesday.

"We're preparing as much as we can, but yeah, it is just a waiting game. It could be any moment, so it's a little nerve-wracking, but it's just exciting," Plouffe said before homering in Friday's game, a 10-1 Twins victory over the Yankees.

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Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Hicks, Gose share ride from Compton to big leagues

Young talents played together at Urban Youth Academy

Hicks, Gose share ride from Compton to big leagues

LOS ANGELES -- Fulfilling their destinies as Major League center fielders as rivals in the American League Central, the Twins' Aaron Hicks and the Tigers' Anthony Gose go way, way back.

They got together in the summer of 2004 as teammates with the San Gabriel Valley Arsenal, a travel team in the greater L.A. sprawl that included a pitcher with a lively arm named Gerrit Cole.

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Lyle Spencer is a national reporter and columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Santana 'sterling' in gem against former team

Twins righty tosses 8 shutout innings in first Anaheim start since being traded in 2012

Santana 'sterling' in gem against former team

ANAHEIM -- After losing four straight games with the offense struggling to score runs, the Twins on Thursday were in desperate need of a strong start from right-hander Ervin Santana, whom they're counting on for a big second half.

Santana did just that in his first start at Angel Stadium since being traded by the Angels after the 2012 season, tossing eight brilliant innings to lift the Twins to a much-needed 3-0 win. He's now thrown 15 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings since the All-Star break to improve to 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA in four starts since returning from an 80-game suspension for use of a performance-enhancing drug.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Plouffe powering Twins through team slump

After hitting grand slam Friday, third baseman belts decisive three-run blast to halt slide

Plouffe powering Twins through team slump

ANAHEIM -- The Twins have had trouble scoring runs since the All-Star break, but Trevor Plouffe's power proved to be key for the second time on their West Coast road trip on Thursday against the Angels.

Plouffe, who hit a grand slam off A's ace Sonny Gray in Friday's 5-0 win, helped the Twins snap a four-game losing streak with a three-run blast off Angels right-hander Garrett Richards in a 3-0 victory at Angel Stadium. The Twins have scored 13 runs since the All-Star break, with seven coming on two swings of the bat from Plouffe. Both of his homers came in Minnesota's two wins on their six-game road trip through Oakland and Anaheim.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stellar Santana sets up shutout of Angels

Stellar Santana sets up shutout of Angels

ANAHEIM -- Ervin Santana dominated against his former team on Thursday afternoon, shutting out the red-hot Angels through eight innings and leading the Twins to a 3-0 victory in Southern California.

The win snapped the Twins' four-game losing streak and the Angels' season-best seven-game winning streak. The Angels entered leading the Majors with 6.7 runs per game in July, but Santana held them to just four hits in his fourth start since coming off a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rehabbing Buxton nearing baseball activities

Dozier gets a breather; Nolasco fitted for walking boot, return timetable unclear

Rehabbing Buxton nearing baseball activities

ANAHEIM -- Twins rookie center fielder Byron Buxton is making progress with his sprained left thumb and could start baseball activities within the next week.

Buxton, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 26, flew home to Georgia over the weekend because of a death in the family, but he returned to Target Field early this week to continue his rehab. He's still doing strengthening exercises, and he's getting close to being able to swing the bat and play catch.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Offense still trying to find groove after break

Twins' lineup notches 9 hits, but struggles with RISP continue

Offense still trying to find groove after break

ANAHEIM -- After getting just two hits in Tuesday's 7-0 loss to the Angels, the Twins at least showed some signs of life offensively on Wednesday with nine hits and five walks to get 14 runners on base.

But this time it was a lack of success with runners in scoring position that did them in, as the Twins went 1-for-9 in those situations to strand 12 runners in a 5-2 loss to the Angels at Angel Stadium. It handed the Twins their fourth straight defeat, and they've scored a combined five runs over that span.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Berrios picks up first win for Red Wings

Twins No. 4 prospect allows 4 hits and no runs in his fourth Triple-A start

Berrios picks up first win for Red Wings

Jose Berrios is known for overpowering hitters, but the usually strikeout-happy right-hander picked up his first Triple-A win with only one K on Thursday.

The Twins' No. 4 prospect (No. 24 overall) helped Rochester take down Gwinnett, 4-0, by allowing just four hits and two walks in seven innings of work. While his strikeout total did not match his average of seven per start, Berrios had his best outing as a Red Wing.

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Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Torii full of pride watching Trout's evolution

Torii full of pride watching Trout's evolution

ANAHEIM -- Torii Hunter watches Mike Trout, like so many others he has mentored over the years, with the unabashed pride of a parent -- or an involved big brother who has done his job well.

"He's my guy," Hunter said of the reigning American League Most Valuable Player Award winner and two-time All-Star Game MVP. "Trout sat next to me [in the Angels' clubhouse] and asked me all the questions in the world. It feels good to see him put to good use things he learned when we were teammates here with the Angels.

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Lyle Spencer is a national reporter and columnist for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @LyleMSpencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Walker extends Minor League home run lead

Twins No. 12 prospect helps Double-A Chattanooga score 7 runs in 7th in comeback win

Walker extends Minor League home run lead

Twins Double-A affiliate Chattanooga stole an 8-7 win from Tennessee on Wednesday by scoring seven runs in the seventh inning.

The Lookouts' impressive comeback featured big hits from No. 12 prospect Adam Brett Walker -- who hit his Minor League leading 26th home run -- and No. 14 prospect Max Kepler. Kepler helped start the home team's rally with a bases-loaded double that scored all three runners.

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Alex M. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins struggle to plate runs in 4th straight loss

Twins struggle to plate runs in 4th straight loss

ANAHEIM -- Johnny Giavotella and Kole Calhoun combined for six hits, C.J. Wilson escaped trouble over five innings and the Angels continued to roll in Southern California on Wednesday night, beating the Twins, 5-2, to increase their season-best winning streak to seven games.

Huston Street finished it off by recording his 300th save, making him the 27th closer to reach the milestone.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sano returns to Twins' lineup vs. Angels

Rookie missed 2 games after mild ankle sprain

Sano returns to Twins' lineup vs. Angels

ANAHEIM -- Rookie designated hitter Miguel Sano returned to the lineup as the cleanup hitter for the Twins against the Angels on Wednesday after missing two games with a mild right ankle sprain.

Sano went 0-for-3 with two walks, but saw a combined 26 pitches in his five plate appearances in Minnesota's 5-2 loss to the Angels.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins awarded competitive balance Draft pick

Twins awarded competitive balance Draft pick

ANAHEIM -- The Twins are set to receive an extra pick in the 2016 Draft, as they were awarded the third pick of the Competitive Balance Round B on Wednesday.

The Competitive Balance Lottery, which was first held in 2013 after being created under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, gives the teams with the 10 smallest markets or 10 smallest revenue pools chances at one of 12 extra Draft picks. The picks are divided into Rounds A and B, with six falling after the first round and six after the second round of the MLB Draft.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dozier honored with Heart and Hustle Award

Second baseman's style of play recognized for second straight year

Dozier honored with Heart and Hustle Award

ANAHEIM -- Second baseman Brian Dozier was named the Twins' Heart and Hustle Award winner for a second straight year, the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association announced Tuesday.

The award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game. The Heart and Hustle Award is the only award in the Majors that is voted on by former players. One player from each team is chosen by an alumni committee and a final winner will be announced on Nov. 10 at the 16th Annual Legends for Youth Dinner in New York City.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins sputtering out of the second-half gate

Offense and pitching struggling after All-Star break

Twins sputtering out of the second-half gate

ANAHEIM -- The Twins had plenty of momentum heading into the All-Star break, winning six of seven, and they appeared poised to keep it going with a series-opening win against the A's on Friday before taking the lead in the ninth inning of Saturday's game.

But the Twins ultimately lost that game in heartbreaking fashion, and now it appears the momentum is heading the other way. The Twins followed it up with a 14-1 loss on Sunday, and it was ugly again on Tuesday in a 7-0 loss to the Angels. Minnesota has been outscored by a 23-1 margin since taking its ninth-inning lead in Oakland on Saturday.

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Twins shut out in opener against Angels

Twins shut out in opener against Angels

ANAHEIM -- Matt Shoemaker set the tone with six scoreless innings and Chris Iannetta provided the dagger with a sixth-inning homer, leading the red-hot Angels to a 7-0 win over the Twins in Southern California on Tuesday night.

The Angels (53-40) have won six in a row and 16 of their last 19. They've outscored opponents, 108-43, since June 27 and remain two games up on the Astros in the American League West.

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Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: As Deadline nears, will Twins trade?

Beat reporter Rhett Bollinger answers fans' questions

Inbox: As Deadline nears, will Twins trade?

ANAHEIM -- With 70 games left in the season, the Twins have set themselves up nicely with a 50-42 record that has them in second place in the American League Central and in contention for the first time since 2010.

Despite losing two out of three in Oakland, Minnesota has won seven of 10 and appears to be poised as a buyer leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Twins' situation leads right into the first question of this week's Inbox:

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Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.