Slugging Phillies out to extend Twins’ losing ways

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The Philadelphia Phillies‘ roster was built to hit home runs this season

For much of the season, there had been a power outage

But over the last six games, the Phillies have blasted 17 homers. They hit three in a 6-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday – two-run shots by Trea Turner, Nick Castellanos and J.T. Realmuto

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“We’re a slug team,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said

The power surge has placed the Phillies a season-best 12 games above .500 and into the first wild-card spot in the National League

Philadelphia took three of four from the Nationals and will host the Minnesota Twins in a three-game set starting Friday

“We’re scary,” Turner said on a postgame interview on NBC Sports Philadelphia. “We thought it would be a little easier. It’s a hard game.

During this 10-game homestand, Thomson has shifted Turner up and down the lineup, anywhere from first to eighth

“Not my favorite thing. It seems to be working,” said Turner, who’s 10-for-27 (.370) with four doubles, two home runs and seven RBIs over the last seven games. “I’m not gonna complain. Topper is putting us in position to win games.

First baseman Bryce Harper left Thursday’s game in the fifth inning with mid back spasms

“He’s day-to-day,” Thomson said of Harper. “We’ll check him out (Friday).

The Phillies will hand the ball to Cristopher Sanchez (0-3, 3.44 ERA)

In Sanchez’s last start, he gave up six hits and six runs in five innings against the Kansas City Royals

Sanchez has never faced the Twins

The struggling Twins will look to snap a three-game losing streak

After winning the opener of a four-game series against the Detroit Tigers, the Twins fell flat and dropped the final three, including a 3-0 loss on Thursday

Minnesota managed only two hits

“You don’t want to keep saying, ‘Hey, it’s baseball. It’s baseball,’ ” said Ryan Jeffers, who had a career-best 14-game hitting streak snapped. “Because at some point, you want to be more consistent. You don’t want to have these stretches. You don’t want to lose three out of four to a team like this. But when you do, you do. It’s tough to sit here and look and overanalyze.

The Twins, who lead the AL Central by 3 1/2 games entering Friday, were recently swept by the Royals and struggled against the Tigers. In between, they’ve reeled off winning streaks. The talented Twins simply haven’t been consistent

Why

“I don’t know that one,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “I don’t think there’s anything that’s particularly getting in the way of the consistency. We’ve had maybe a little bit of roster change and had some movement there. But watching the games, guys that generally have pretty good at-bats, some days they don’t.

Dallas Keuchel is scheduled to start for Minnesota

It will be Keuchel’s second start since being signed to a minor league deal by the Twins. In his Twins debut last Sunday, he held the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks to one run in five innings

“I felt like I was blessed with kind of getting healthy at the right time with a few spots opening with different teams, but I just kind of stayed persistent with wanting to be with the Twins,” Keuchel said

Keuchel is 2-2 with a 2.67 ERA in five career starts against the Phillies

–Field Level Medi

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