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Twins get big boost from big preseason question marks

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The Twins are back in action Friday night after a day off, taking on San Francisco after a two-game sweep over the Padres that put the team two games over .500 for the first time this season.

A lot of that recent success can be attributed to some of the team's biggest question marks – the players whose 2014 contributions had the widest range of expectations coming in – turning in solid performances as of late.

The Key Players

ESPN's preview focuses on tonight's Twins starter Kyle Gibson (4-3, 4.20 ERA), who posted a 0.93 ERA through his first three starts, then went winless over his next four contests as his ERA ballooned to 8.68 during that time. But last Friday, the 26-year-old bounced back by giving up one run in seven innings of work, as the Twins beat the Mariners 5-4.

Charley Walters of the Pioneer Press had big praise for Gibson's rotation-mate Phil Hughes Thursday. Hughes (5-1, 3.15 ERA), who was signed as a free agent this past offseason, pitched magnificently in a 2-0 win over the Padres Wednesday night. He turned in seven shutout innings, scattering seven hits while striking out seven – good for his sixth straight quality start.

Hughes got a three-year, $24 million deal from Minnesota, and Walters said his performance is making the Twins look good.

At the plate, Chris Parmelee is one of the Twins leading the team's recent hot streak (23-21 record, five wins in the past six games, four straight series wins, and coming off a two-game road sweep over the Padres). Phil Miller writes about Parmelee's up-and-down season for the Star Tribune. The former first-round pick played in more than 100 games for Minnesota last year, but didn't make the major league squad out of spring training, Miller writes.

He was called up from Rochester earlier this month, and though he's only hitting .213 at this point (though with three home runs, all coming when the score was tied, and six RBI through 11 games), he tells the Star Tribune he's taking the team's advice of not taking too many pitches and trying not to overthink his at-bats – something he tended to do in the past.

Twins-Giants

Former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum (3-3, 4.74 ERA) is on the mound tonight for San Francisco. The Giants are 28-17 this year, and are coming off a game against the Colorado Rockies that was suspended due to rain Thursday night.

First pitch is at 9:15 p.m. CST.

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