Twins open West Coast road trip vs. Dodgers

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

A return home was just what the Minnesota Twins needed, and now the American League Central leaders will see if they can apply what they have learned into their next road trip.

The Twins won consecutive home series against the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs, and another National League team awaits this week with the opener of a three-game road series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night.

The game also will open a six-game Southern California trip that includes a return to American League play with three games against the Los Angeles Angels.

The Twins put on an offensive show this past weekend, matching a season high with 11 runs scored against the Cubs on Saturday before topping that Sunday in a 16-3 victory over Chicago. Minnesota scored 29 runs against the Cubs, which is a Target Field record for a three-game series.

On Sunday, Trevor Larnach and Joey Gallo each hit a home run in a seven-run third inning, and Michael Taylor homered in a seven-run eighth. Former Dodger Kyle Farmer had three hits for Minnesota.

“Hitting is contagious,” Farmer said on the Bally Sports North broadcast. “When one person puts a good at-bat together, you follow it with another one and another one and another one, and you saw that (Sunday). It was fun, and we have to go out to L.A. with the same approach.”

The Twins were coming off a 2-4 trip before they corrected themselves at home.

Right-hander Pablo Lopez (2-2, 3.47 ERA) is set to take the mound for Minnesota on Monday to continue the charge for a workhorse starting pitching staff. Twins starters have a major league-best 233 2/3 innings pitched, leaving the bullpen as fresh as any in baseball.

Lopez is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three career starts against the Dodgers, including a six-inning start last season when he gave up two runs in a no-decision.

Los Angeles right-hander Noah Syndergaard (1-3, 6.12) is in line to start Monday after pitching just one inning Tuesday at Milwaukee because of a right index finger injury.

Syndergaard has faced the Twins just once in his career, in a 2019 start when he picked up the win with a 5.14 ERA after giving up four runs over seven innings.

After a bumpy ride to start the season, the Dodgers’ pitching staff has led the way to a five-game winning streak and victories in 13 of the last 15 contests. The Dodgers had a 4.61 staff ERA in April but have an NL-best 2.61 mark in May as they enter their first interleague game of the season.

The Dodgers will enter Monday off a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres in a series in which the pitching staff gave up just four runs.

“That’s exactly how you win: pitching and playing defense,” said the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts, who hit a two-run home run in a 4-0 victory Sunday. “We have a really good staff and a really good defense, and we were able to put it together. We hit when we need to, and we got some wins.”

Dodgers catcher Will Smith was off Sunday but is expected to return Monday on a five-game hitting streak. He is 8-for-19 (.421) during the streak, with two home runs and five RBIs.

–Field Level Media

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