One strong indication of how well the Astros have played in the past month has been their performance on the road, riding into Minneapolis to start a series against the Twins on Friday riding a five-game road winning streak, which extend to six after their series-opening win.
The Astros, trying to win their third consecutive series on the road, will send Scott Feldman to the mound for Saturday's game. Feldman was roughed up for nine runs and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings Sunday against the Orioles after struggling with his command.
That was rare bump on the road for an Astros rotation that has pitched rather well all season and been perhaps their biggest bright spot. Feldman will face Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson (4-5, 4.35 ERA), who is making his second career start against the Astros.
"We've played much better the last two weeks, and I think it's a credit to our staff as a group," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "They just continue to push the rock, continue to punch the clock each today and come out prepared to play. You look at the month of May we had (15-14 record), and it was obvious we built up some momentum and we want to continue to carry momentum throughout the month of June."
Astros: Presley glad to land on his feet in Houston
Backup outfielder Alex Presley returned to Target Field this weekend for the first time since playing part of the 2013 season for the Twins. He hit .283 with a homer and 11 RBIs in 28 games for Minnesota last year after being acquired in an Aug. 31 trade with Pittsburgh.
Presley was placed on waivers by the Twins in the spring and taken by the Astros.
"I'm not going to be like, 'I'm here to get revenge,'" he said. "It's baseball and things happen and players move around all the time. It's definitely good to come back here and I had a lot of fun here. I played well in this ballpark."
Presley has started 10 of the last 15 games and had a hit in 18 of his 29 starts (.305).
"He's been a great addition to our ballclub, especially when you look at the fact he's a left-hander and he can play all three [outfield] positions," manager Bo Porter said. "He's given us a lot of flexibility."
Twins: Hicks could get a shot in right field
Gardenhire said he would potentially consider Aaron Hicks in right field thanks to Danny Santana's performance in center. With Oswaldo Arcia's health (ankle sprain) in question, lineup changes could lead to Hicks in right.
"We thought about putting him in center and Hicks in right," he said. "I thought about doing that, but I don't know how much Hicks has played in right. And Hicks is definitely the better of the two centerfielders right now."
But Santana, who hit his first Major League homer on Friday, swings a better stick and Hicks has struggled at the plate.
"I would have no fear of putting Hicks in right field," Gardenhire said. "He's an athlete. He can go just about anywhere."
• The Twins entered Friday 3-7 this season against the American League West, but they were 16-10 all-time against the Astros.
• In their last seven series, the Astros have four wins, two splits and one loss.