Ron Gardenhire sticks with his regulars for Game 3 vs. Yanks

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Twins manager Ron Gardenhire hinted at possibly using Alexi Casilla in place of J.J. Hardy or Danny Valencia with the team facing elimination in Game 3 against the Yankees tonight, but he has all of his regulars in there against Phil Hughes (via Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune).

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Hudson, 2B
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Jim Thome, DH
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Danny Valencia, 3B
J.J. Hardy, SS

The lefty-heavy Twins weren’t able to muster much in the way of offense against southpaws CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte over the first two games of the series, but they should be a bit more comfortable Phil Hughes tonight. 17 of the 25 home runs that Hughes allowed during the regular season came against left-handed batters. Unsurprisingly, opposing batters had a 754 OPS against Hughes at the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium this season compared to a 624 OPS on the road.   

Justin Verlander earns 200th career win

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Astros starter Justin Verlander wasn’t his usual dominant self on Sunday against the Athletics, but he was good enough to get the win. In doing so, he earned the 200th win of his career, becoming the 117th member of the 200-win club.

Verlander went 5 1/3 innings, yielding four runs (all earned) on seven hits and a walk with six strikeouts. On the season, Verlander is now 12-8 with a 2.65 ERA and a 223/29 K/BB ratio in 169 2/3 innings. Sunday’s win helped the Astros stave off the surging A’s. The Astros now have a one-game lead in the AL West.

Only two active pitchers have more wins than Verlander: Bartolo Colon (247) and CC Sabathia (244). Zack Greinke will likely be the next member of the 200-win club as he currently has 184 to his name.