After Friday's 13-inning marathon in which the Twins prevailed, 4-3, both Minnesota and Houston will be looking for their starters to go deep into Saturday's game at Target Field.
While Astros veteran left-hander Erik Bedard is striving to stay healthy and demonstrate his value, young Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson is hoping to prove the hype that surrounds him has legitimacy.
Bedard, 34, is set to make his first start since July 25, as his scheduled Wednesday outing was pushed back because of stiffness in his shoulder. The southpaw is hoping to be defined less by his 0-5 record in July and more by his 3.86 ERA in the month, during which he threw 6 1/3 no-hit innings against the Mariners on July 20.
Bedard (3-8, 4.28 ERA) came out of that start before giving up a hit in an effort to save his arm.
"I've had three shoulder surgeries, so I'm not going over 110," said Bedard, who threw 109 pitches and took the loss. "I'd rather pitch a couple more years than face another batter."
His opponent, Gibson, is on the opposite end of the experience spectrum. Minnesota's No. 4 prospect, Gibson (2-3, 6.21 ERA) made his Major League debut on June 29, and he is six starts into his Major League career. Most recently, the 25-year-old gave up seven hits and five runs across five innings in a loss at Seattle.
"He needs to locate the ball better," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We all know the arm's there, the breaking ball's there. He's got a good, hard power-sinker. Now it's about command.
"He's got to be able to control those innings where he gets a couple guys on and do a shut-down inning, rather than putting up a four-spot. Right now, it kind of overwhelms him and he starts trying too hard, overthrowing, and before you know it, he's got bases loaded. It's controlling the game and your emotions, and that's what happens with young pitchers."
Astros: Altuve could return to lineup Saturday
Second baseman Jose Altuve did not play on Friday. Though he worked out before the game and probably could have played, Altuve was held out for the second game in a row. Altuve, who is hitting .284 with four homers, 34 RBIs and 26 stolen bases, has a sore left quadriceps muscle.
"It's one of those things, you don't want this to linger the rest of the season, and you want to go ahead and get it taken care of," manager Bo Porter said. "[Head athletic trainer] Nate [Lucero] and I just leaned towards the side of getting it taken care of. He was able to get multiple days of rest, and once he gets back in the lineup, he can put it behind him."
Twins: Arcia suiting up for Minnesota again
In his first game since being recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Friday, outfielder Oswaldo Arcia started in left and went 2-for-6 with three strikeouts. To help Arcia regain confidence and focus, the Twins optioned him to the Red Wings last month, where he hit .375 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 13 games.
"[Rochester manager Gene Glynn] told me ... he's been swinging good, and he's made some real nice plays in the outfield," Gardenhire said. "He's playing a little more right field down there, but he's running the ball down good, and everything's going well."
• The Twins have a 12-9 all-time record against Houston. In Minnesota, the series is tied at five games apiece.
• Houston has gone 2-6 in its 10-game, 11-day road trip. The Twins had lost four in a row before Friday.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.