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American League Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, July 6 (All times Eastern)
New York Yankees (43-43) at Minnesota Twins (39-47), 2:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Hiroki Kuroda (5-6, 4.08) Minnesota - Ricky Nolasco (5-6, 5.49)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Twins will attempt to salvage a split of this weekend's four-game set with the New York Yankees, when the teams meet up at Target Field on Sunday afternoon.
The Twins dropped the first two games of the series, but pulled out a 2-1 victory in 11 innings on Saturday.
With the score locked at 1-1 in the bottom of the 11th, Trevor Plouffe grounded into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded, but Josh Willingham came in to score the winning run on a throwing error by Yankees' catcher Francisco Cervelli.
Brian Duensing pitched a scoreless top of the 11th to earn the win. The Twins bullpen combined to throw five scoreless innings after starter Yohan Pino let up a run on three hits over the first six innings.
The Twins had lost three straight games and eight of their last 10 before Saturday's win.
The Yankees wasted a stellar effort from David Phelps, who lasted seven innings and allowed just one run on a solo home run from Willingham in the seventh inning.
Cervelli may have cost the Yankees the game in extra innings, but his RBI single in the fifth led to their only run of the game.
New York has lost six of its last eight games.
A pair of pitchers with identical records will square off on Sunday with Ricky Nolasco taking the hill for Minnesota and Hiroki Kuroda opposing him for New York.
Kuroda is making his second start of the month, following a strong outing against Tampa Bay on July 1. The right-hander tossed eight innings during which he scattered nine hits and two runs, while striking out seven batters.
It was the fourth time this season he has had at least seven punchouts.
Unfortunately, the effort did not lead to a victory for the Yankees or Kuroda, as the Rays won 2-1. Kuroda is now 5-6 on the season, although he has been able to slowly push his ERA back toward respectability (4.08) thanks to a 3.26 ERA in his last six starts.
If Kuroda's previous starts against Minnesota are any indication, the recent success may come to an end. The 39-year-old is just 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA in two career outings against the Twins. He has only pitched a combined 9 1/3 innings in those contests.
Nolasco has the same 5-6 record as Kuroda, but he has not been as successful in keeping runners off base or limiting opponents' scoring. He has an ERA of 5.49 and has let up the most hits (133) and earned runs (62) in the American League among qualifying starters.
In his last start Nolasco showed some signs of improvement as he limited the Royals to one run on eight hits over six innings to pick up his first win in four starts. The effort also dropped his ERA to the lowest it has been all season.
Nolasco also pitched well in his first career outing against the Yankees earlier this season, when he held them to a run on seven hits over six innings in a 6-1 victory on May 30.
Sunday's matchup is the seventh of the season between these teams. Minnesota took two out of three from New York at Yankee Stadium earlier in the campaign.
07/06 10:22:17 ET