|11:10 AM PT12:10 PM MT1:10 PM CT2:10 PM ET14:10 ET18:10 GMT2:10 11:10 AM MST1:10 PM EST1:40 PM VEN22:10 UAE1:10 PM CT, August 20, 2017
Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota Attendance: 27,367
Upstart Twins looking for another win vs. Diamondbacks
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins have seemingly been written off a few times this season, particularly when the team's own front office decided to trade left-handed starter Jaime Garcia and All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler before the trade deadline.
Another win against Arizona on Saturday and Minnesota is not just surviving. The Twins are thriving.
Minnesota has won three straight games and is in a tie for the second wild-card spot in the American League entering Sunday's series finale against the Diamondbacks.
"It's been an interesting month," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We've had some changes. We've had to overcome some lesser play at times and still try to find ways to respond, and they've done that.
"We talked about it during the mini winning streak that we were winning games in different fashion. Whether that's Ervin stepping up after having a little bit of a rough start, or the offense having different guys contributing. I do know that it gives us a lot better feeling when the lineup's clicking from top to bottom. We really have been getting a lot of nice production from the bottom three, four guys."
Minnesota made Arizona's Zack Greinke work on Saturday and eventually broke through for a five-run fourth inning. Twins right-hander Jose Berrios controlled the D-backs on the way to seven scoreless innings.
Arizona, which had been led by a big offense, only had two hits.
"I know we're a pretty good offensive team, and we usually bang the ball around with anybody, but it didn't happen today," manager Torey Lovullo said. "I thought we hit a number of balls hard throughout the course of the day. We couldn't get anything rolling. Good approach. I was satisfied with that."
The D-backs still hold their own wildcard spot in the National League, but they are 14-20 since the All-Star break.
"We haven't been playing that good for more than several weeks, but we should turn it around and play better at the tail end," Greinke said. "I think we're better than we've been playing -- I feel like it's been a month and a half at least. It's been a while where we've played .500 ball or under .500 ball. It would be nice to start doing better."
The Twins are drawing confidence off beating good pitching, such as Arizona's Zack Godley on Friday and Greinke on Saturday.
"To have a good night against a pitcher of Greinke's caliber is definitely a confidence builder," said Joe Mauer, who had three hits on Saturday. "So hopefully we can keep it going, and the guys are playing really well right now."
Molitor added: "Win a couple games back-to-back against a really good team and hopefully come out tomorrow and have a chance to sweep the series."
Bartolo Colon (4-10, 6.70 ERA) starts for Minnesota on Sunday. The D-backs had waited to announce their Sunday starter until after Saturday's game. Robbie Ray has been on the concussion disabled list since July 28 and fill-in Anthony Banda had been optioned to Triple-A.
Arizona scratched right-handed starter Braden Shipley from his last minor league start in case he was needed, but made the decision to go with left-hander T.J. McFarland (4-4, 4.14 in 32 relief appearances) as Sunday's starter.
Lovullo waited until the first two games in Minnesota had finished before deciding if they could afford a bullpen game with McFarland as the starter. Shipley was activated from Triple-A and will be available out of the bullpen.
Lovullo said McFarland, who will be making his first major league start since July 1, 2014 with Baltimore, will be able to last about 60 pitches on Sunday. McFarland has faced the Twins three times in his career with a 6.75 ERA but he's never started a game against Minnesota.
McFarland might not have to face Twins slugger Miguel Sano, who left Saturday's game with left lower leg shin soreness.
"We tried to protect him with the DH role tonight, but obviously it's bothering him," Molitor said. "You can see how he ran down to first base. We got him out. We're going to get some tests on him in the morning and see how he's doing."
Colon is 0-2 with a 3.42 ERA in four career starts against the D-backs. He's coming off a five-inning, three-run loss to the Cleveland Indians on Monday in which he gave up three solo homers.
"No, fastball; that's what they all looked for," Colon said through an interpreter after the game. "Obviously those three home runs were fastball. But other than that, my off speed they couldn't hit it tonight."
Updated August 20, 2017