Solid Milone has earned manager's faith

Lefty has thrived since taking over in rotation for injured Nolasco

Solid Milone has earned manager's faith

MINNEAPOLIS -- With the way Tommy Milone has been pitching recently, the Twins were never worried, despite starting out 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday afternoon.

Milone kept the Twins in the game, giving up just one run over seven strong innings, while Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer connected on back-to-back homers in the sixth inning to lead the Twins to a 5-3 win. The victory gave Minnesota its first sweep of Baltimore since Aug. 23-26, 2007.

It was the sixth straight quality start for Milone, who has a 1.61 ERA over that span. The left-hander won his fourth straight decision and hasn't lost in seven outings since taking over for injured right-hander Ricky Nolasco in early June.

"That's not a surprise if you've been following Tommy's performances all year," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It's been high-end performances almost every time out there. He had maybe one inning where his command was kinda sketchy. They scored the one run [after] a fly ball off the wall where maybe we had a chance to catch it. But other than that, he held them down, and that's an explosive baseball team."

Molitor showed his trust in Milone by leaving him in to face Caleb Joseph with two outs in the seventh after he walked Jonathan Schoop to put two runners on. The southpaw rewarded his manager's faith by getting Joseph to line out to left field to end the inning.

"It was basically him coming out and having confidence in me," Milone said. "He asked if I wanted to stay in and face the last guy, and obviously I said, 'Yeah.'"

Dozier said the Twins have plenty of confidence in Milone, who has been a major reason why the rotation has held its own this season. Milone is 5-1 with a 2.84 ERA in 11 starts.

"He gives people fits," Dozier said. "I know he only throws 86-89 [mph], but everyone I talk to says it feels way harder than that. But when you have a guy with a fluid motion, and it gets on you faster than it really is and changes speeds a lot, he's like a mini-Tom Glavine."

Milone's performance helped Minnesota to a much-needed sweep to open its seven-game homestand. This comes after a 4-6 road trip through Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Kansas City.

"It's really big," Milone said. "Especially with the ups and downs that go on throughout the year. It's nice to win three in a row."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.