Blackburn, who was 5-0 with five quality starts back in May before laboring through the summer months, returned to the starting rotation in late August with his May form. The right-hander has delivered a quality start in each of of his past three starts, including seven innings of two-run ball last time out against the division-leading Rangers.
Blackburn has provided some much-needed length out of the rotation for Minnesota, pitching at least seven innings in all three of those starts. He has struck out 15 in 22 2/3 innings.
Blackburn credits the rediscovery of his sinker during his time in the Minor Leagues.
One of the hitters Blackburn will have to contend with is the surging Michael Brantley, who has steadily raised his average since the All-Star break. Brantley, currently working on an 11-game hitting streak, is batting over .300 since Aug. 12 with a hit in 21 of his 22 starts.
"He's been very good since he was last called up," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He knows he's not going anywhere and his confident at the plate has showed. He's set the table for us very nicely."
Brantley attributes his success to getting regular playing time.
"It's been about getting more at-bats at the Major League level," Brantley said. "I was excited to get the opportunity to come back because I was sent up and down. But now I'm finally here to stay so it's relieved pressure. Now I'm just trying to put good swings on the ball."
Twins: Restocking the bullpen
Minnesota, holding a five-game lead over the White Sox in the AL Central, will get one of its left-handed relievers back on Saturday, when Jose Mijares rejoins the bullpen. Mijares tossed 35 pitches in a simulated game in Cleveland on Friday with no setbacks, and the left-hander appears ready to be back with the big league club for the first time since Aug. 11.
The other lefty out of the 'pen, Brian Fuentes, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Saturday at Progressive Field.
"Once we get [Mijares] out there and Fuentes, two really, really good left-handers, it gives you lots of options for those last few innings," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Both of them can come in and get lefties and righties out. That's two more really good arms if we can get them both back out there cranking."
Indians: A tough act to follow
Carlos Carrasco will try to repeat Fausto Carmona's performance from Friday night for Cleveland. Carrasco has looked excellent in his first two starts since being called up for the Indians, allowing five earned runs in 13 1/3 innings.
"I think this month is very important for me for next year," Carrasco said after his no-decision against the Angels on Monday. "I want to show that I can stay up here, and so I have to keep working."
Carmona retired the final 16 batters in the Tribe's 2-0 shutout victory on Friday. ... The game lasted 1 hour, 57 minutes, the second-quickest game of the season for both teams and the second quickest ever at Progressive Field. Carmona was the losing pitcher in the Indians' quickest game of the year -- the infamous 3-0 loss to Armando Galarraga and the Tigers on June 2 in 1 hour, 44 minutes. Carl Pavano, Friday's loser, was the winning pitcher in Minnesota's shortest game, a 3-2 win over the White Sox on July 17 in 1 hour, 52 minutes. ... The Twins have won seven of the 13 meetings between these two teams in 2010.
Sat, 9/11 7:05 PM ET
Thome the difference-maker in extra innings
With stout pitching and stellar defense from both clubs, the Twins and Indians took a scoreless battle into the 12th before the Twins' Jim Thome launched a homer off the Indians' Justin Germano for the game-winner.
|Hudson, O, 2B||5||0||1||0||0||0||4||.278|
|Young, D, LF||5||0||1||0||0||1||3||.299|
|Cabrera, A, SS||5||0||1||0||0||0||2||.268|
|1-Nix, J, PR-3B||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.242|
|Marte, A, 3B-1B||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.210|
|a-Brown, J, PH-1B||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.245|
1-Ran for LaPorta in the 9th.
HR: Thome (23, 12th inning off Germano, 0 on, 1 out).
TB: Hudson, O; Mauer 2; Kubel; Cuddyer; Thome 4; Young, D; Hardy.
RBI: Thome (53).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Young, D 2; Hudson, O; Kubel.
GIDP: Cuddyer; Hudson, O 2.
Team RISP: 0-for-6.
Team LOB: 7.
CS: Young, D (4, 2nd base by Carrasco/Marson).
DP: (Hardy-Hudson, O-Cuddyer).
TB: Brantley; Cabrera, A; Choo; Hafner 2; Crowe; Marson 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Valbuena 2; Cabrera, A; Brown, J.
Team RISP: 0-for-8.
Team LOB: 10.
SB: Marson (7, 2nd base off Crain/Mauer), Donald (5, 2nd base off Blackburn/Mauer).
E: Cabrera, A (11, throw), Valbuena (8, throw).
DP: 3 (Cabrera, A-Donald-LaPorta 2, Cabrera, A-Valbuena-LaPorta).
Pitches-strikes: Blackburn 94-62, Crain 22-15, Flores, R 6-5, Guerrier 6-5, Capps 9-6, Carrasco 102-67, Perez, R 3-2, Perez, C 11-9, Sipp 25-16, Germano 10-7.
Groundouts-flyouts: Blackburn 14-4, Crain 1-2, Flores, R 0-0, Guerrier 2-0, Capps 1-2, Carrasco 13-3, Perez, R 1-0, Perez, C 1-0, Sipp 3-1, Germano 1-0.
Batters faced: Blackburn 30, Crain 8, Flores, R 2, Guerrier 3, Capps 3, Carrasco 28, Perez, R 1, Perez, C 3, Sipp 8, Germano 4.
Inherited runners-scored: Guerrier 2-0, Perez, R 1-0.
Umpires: HP: Brian Gorman. 1B: Tony Randazzo. 2B: . 3B: Paul Nauert.
Weather: 64 degrees, overcast.
Wind: 5 mph, In from CF.
T: 3:14 (1:50 delay).
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media