Happy to head home

Rangers happy to head home

DETROIT -- Now they return home, hoping for better results than on the road trip and on their first homestand.

The Rangers open a six-game homestand at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Friday when they take on the Twins in the first of a three-game series. The Rangers get a badly-needed day off on Monday and then begin a three-game series against the Royals on Tuesday.

The Rangers were 2-6 on their first homestand. The lost the home opener to the Orioles, swept a doubleheader from the Orioles, then lost three straight to the Blue Jays and two straight to the Angels. They could use a big homestand this time around.

"We need something big every day," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "We just need to start playing better."

They could also use some pitching, especially from their starters. Opening Day starter Kevin Millwood opens the Twins series on Friday hoping to give his bullpen teammates some rest after all the innings they pitched on the road trip.

"I look at it as all my starts are important, but it would be nice to get the homestand off on a good note," Millwood said. "It's my job -- everybody else's job, too -- we all have to pitch deeper in the ballgame and try to keep the bullpen from burning themselves out before May."

The Rangers lost seven of nine to the Twins last year, including two of three at the Ballpark. Twins catcher Joe Mauer has a career .178 average against the Rangers, his lowest against any American League team.

Monday is the Rangers' only day off in a stretch that began on April 8 and calls for them to play 36 games in 37 days.

Pitching matchup
TEX: RHP Kevin Millwood (1-2, 2.53 ERA)
Millwood is 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in two starts at home this year and is 8-1 with a 3.52 ERA in his last 13 starts at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. In 35 career starts in Arlington, he is 16-11 with a 4.97 ERA. He has never beaten the Twins in his career, going 0-5 with a 5.64 ERA that is his third highest against any American League team. Four of his five outings this year have been quality starts.

MIN: RHP Nick Blackburn (1-1, 2.49 ERA)
The rookie right-hander made it two straight impressive outings at the Metrodome to start the season. After holding the Angels to just one run in his first start of the year, Blackburn delivered a nearly identical start against the Indians. He pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings, holding Cleveland to eight hits while not issuing a walk in the outing, although he did record one hit-by-pitch.

Tidbits
Michael Young has a nine-game hitting streak and is hitting .400 (16-for-40) during that stretch. ... Kinsler took Thursday off and still has a streak of having reached base safely in 22 straight games. ... The Rangers have had the lead at some point in six of their last seven games.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN-HD

On radio
• KRLD 1080, KFLC 1270 (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Rangers (Scott Feldman, 0-0, 4.50) vs. Twins (Scott Baker, 2-0, 3.51), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Rangers (Vicente Padilla, 2-2, 4.97) vs. Twins (Livan Hernandez, 3-0, 3.55), 1:05 p.m. CT
• Monday: Off-day

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.