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MIN@KC: Hughes fans four over 7 2/3 innings

It's been a good start to an 11-game homestand for the Orioles. They're 6-1 more than halfway through and have picked up three games on the Yankees in the American League East to stretch their division lead to nine games.

On Sunday, they can also finish off a four-game sweep of the Twins and continue to inch their way to the postseason.

The O's will activate pitcher Kevin Gausman prior to the game -- he was optioned to the Gulf Coast League Orioles after his last start to free up a roster spot -- as part of September callups, and Baltimore could also feature a host of new additions in some sort of role.

The O's dealt for White Sox outfielder Alejandro De Aza and Red Sox utility man Kelly Johnson on Saturday. De Aza was scheduled to start on Saturday, but missed his flight and didn't make it to Oriole Park at Camden Yards on time for the start of the game.

These moves are made for the stretch run in Baltimore, and O's manager Buck Showalter isn't worried about it affecting his team's chemistry.

"If you have one guy come into the clubhouse this time of year and it affects something that much, then you're not going to be playing in the postseason anyway," Showalter said. "We feel very comfortable about the environment we bring our guys in to. Our guys are very welcoming."

Minnesota, which won't expand its roster until it returns to Target Field on Tuesday, will try to avoid a sweep on Monday with its ace on the hill.

Phil Hughes takes the mound for the Twins against a familiar opponent. Hughes (14-9) began his career with the Yankees and has given up more home runs to the Orioles than any other team. In August, though, he was stellar, posting a 2.06 ERA despite allowing four runs in 7 2/3 innings during his last start.

"It's probably the best stuff I've had [during] this little run I've been on. I felt like I was really on," Hughes said after that loss to the Royals. "Which makes it disappointing, to spoil a start where you have pretty good stuff."

Orioles: Johnson set to report on Monday
De Aza arrived at Camden Yards some time around the seventh inning of Baltimore's 12-8 win against Minnesota on Sunday after being traded by Chicago a night earlier. On Sunday, the other player the O's landed that night is expected to be in Baltimore, too.

Johnson is expected to report before the finale of the Orioles' four-game series with the Twins on Monday. His role, however, doesn't seem as obvious as De Aza's.

The outfielder will likely have a chance to compete for starts in left. Johnson does many of the same things as infielder Ryan Flaherty, so to Showalter he's just an extra piece to work with who's reached the postseason a handful of times.

"Just another option there," Showalter said. "I think we were the last American League East team that Kelly hadn't played for. He's a guy that can play first, second and third, left-handed bat and has experience in our division."

Twins: Suzuki gets day off
Kurt Suzuki was out of Minnesota's lineup on Sunday after taking a foul ball to the jaw a day earlier. He remained in for the entirety of Saturday's loss and took Sunday off as a precaution.

Eric Fryer got the start behind the plate, which also came because the Twins were playing a day game after a night game.

"He's caught an awful lot of baseball and took one off the chin last night that flattened him pretty good," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's going to complain to me about not playing. That's the norm, which I like. But he'll be over there with me, and maybe he'll try to manage because he second-guesses me all the time anyways."

Worth noting
• Showalter said the Orioles will add a pair of pitchers on Monday to kick off September callups. Relief pitcher Ryan Webb and starting pitcher-turned-reliever Joe Saunders are likely candidates to be brought to Baltimore.

• Rookies Danny Santana and Kennys Vargas combined for 79 hits in August, the second most by a pair of rookie teammates in a calendar month since 1962. Comments