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Series preview: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Minnesota Twins

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What's new: The Twins have won six of their past eight after Thursday's ejection-filled loss to the Red Sox (see 5C) but are an AL-worst 5-14 on the road. They've been boosted by the return of C Joe Mauer, who was on the DL when the Rays played in Minnesota in late April. Mauer has been hot, and the Twins entered Thursday batting an AL-best .291 in May, with their 38 homers second to the Yankees. They're strong defensively, entering Thursday with the AL's best fielding percentage (.989).

Key stat: Mauer is off to one of the best starts of his career, entering Thursday leading the majors with a .425 average in May, with 11 homers, 32 RBI and a .514 on-base percentage.

Connections: RHP Matt Garza and SS Jason Bartlett (on the DL) are former Twins; Delmon Young and Brendan Harris are former Rays. OF Denard Span is a Tampa Catholic product.

Series history: The Twins took two of three in an April series at the Metrodome and lead the overall series 52-37, including 29-16 at Tropicana Field.

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

Series preview: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Minnesota Twins 05/28/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 29, 2009 6:45am]
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