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Minnesota's staff off to quality start

This is just what Tampa Bay's struggling offense does not need.

The Twins went into Tuesday's game with the No. 2 pitching staff in the American League, getting 15 quality starts in 24 games.

"As our offense has sputtered, our starters have really picked us up," designated hitter Paul Molitor said. "With all of the games we've lost that we should have won, it's been impressive the way they've been able to hold it together on the mound. It's been a big pick-me-up for the club."

Bob Tewksbury, tonight's starter, is 2-3 but has pitched well. Opponents are hitting only .226 off the right-hander from Saint Leo and his ERA is 3.82. He lost his past two starts 5-3 and 4-2.

IT'S ALL RELATIVE: So you haven't been impressed with recent crowds at Tropicana Field? Cheer up, you could be in Minnesota. The Twins averaged 16,023 through their first 11 home games, although they've had several crowds of less than 10,000.

BAD BREAK: Centerfielder Otis Nixon is scheduled to have surgery today to repair his broken jaw. He is expected to be out for at least two weeks.

_ Compiled from Times wire reports.

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