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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 20th (All times Eastern)
Minnesota Twins (4-9) at Tampa Bay Rays (7-6), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Minnesota - Liam Hendriks (0-0, 1.50) Tampa Bay - Matt Moore (0-1, 5.54)
(Sports Network) - Prized rookie southpaw Matt Moore makes the fourth start of his big-league career and faces Minnesota for the first time when the Twins visit Tropicana Field to open a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Moore, a 22-year-old, was called up at the tail end of last season and left many observers drooling after he posted a 2.89 earned run average and struck out 15 batters in 9 1/3 regular-season innings, then had a double-digit strikeout game against Texas in the playoffs.
He's made two starts thus far in 2012 and has yet to record a victory, instead emerging with a no-decision and a loss at Detroit and Boston while surrendering 12 hits and eight runs in 13 innings.
He's battled with control issues in the initial two appearances, walking nine batters to go along with his nine strikeouts. Still, batters are hitting just .245 against him, only two points better than the .243 they managed last September.
He's opposed by Australian righty Liam Hendriks, who starts for the second time this season and sixth in his career.
The 6-foot-1, 201-pounder was 0-2 in four starts late in 2011 while posting a bloated 6.17 earned run average and allowing an opposition batting average of .312.
He's still winless as a big-leaguer after one start in 2012, in which he got a no-decision after allowing a run on seven hits in six innings of the Twins' 4-3 loss to Texas.
Hendriks has never faced the Rays.
On Thursday in New York, Curtis Granderson clubbed three home runs in the first four innings, becoming the first Yankee to accomplish the feat since Alex Rodriguez in 2010, as New York held off Minnesota, 7-6.
Ryan Doumit hit a two-run home run as part of a four-RBI night, but Anthony Swarzak (0-3) relinquished an early four-run lead, giving up six runs on eight hits over just 2 2/3 frames in defeat.
In Toronto, Desmond Jennings hit a go-ahead solo home run in the fifth, Evan Longoria added a two-run homer later in the inning and the Rays downed the Blue Jays, 9-4, in the finale of a three-game series.
Jennings also had an RBI single, Longoria finished with four RBI and Luke Scott hit a two-run double for Tampa Bay, which has won three of its last four games, including the final two of this series.
Jeremy Hellickson (2-0) earned the win, allowing three runs - two earned - on six hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings.
The Rays went 7-3 versus the Twins last season.
04/20 10:52:38 ET