After a short four-game homestand, the Atlanta Braves head to Minnesota to begin a seven-game road trip with three games against the Twins.

The Braves (66-47) have a 6 1/2 game lead over the Washington Nationals in the National League East. Minnesota comes in winners in eight of its last 10 games. At 69-42, the Twins have a three-game lead over the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central.

Atlanta comes into the game still awaiting the return of shortstop Dansby Swanson, who has been out since July 23 with a bruised heel. He is expected to play a game or two in Gwinnett as a rehab assignment before rejoining the team.

It has also been a rough debut for new closer Shane Greene. The Braves acquired him at the trade deadline and in his first two outings he is 0-1 with an 18 ERA. He has pitched two innings, allowed seven hits and four earned runs.

Despite the struggles, the Braves have won six of their last 10 and will now face the team with the most home runs in the majors this season.

Minnesota has hit 217 homers and is on pace to hit well over 300 for the year. Right fielder Max Kepler and designated hitter Nelson Cruz have each hit 30 home runs already. Cruz hit three homers on Saturday and became the oldest player (39) to have two three-homer games in the same season.

Left fielder Eddie Rosario has hit 23, catcher Mitch Garver has 20, while Jonathan Shoop (16), Jorge Polanco (17), Miguel Sano (18) and C.J. Cron (19) will likely soon give the Twins eight players with 20 homers.

Following the Twins series, the Braves will head to Miami for four games with the Marlins.

PITCHING MATCHUPS

Monday’s game will be a matchup of team aces as the Braves send Mike Soroka (10-2, 2.37 ERA) against the Twins’ Jake Odorizzi (12-5, 3.73).

After a few rough starts, Soroka returned to his dominant ways last time out when he pitched seven innings, allowed three hits, one run and struck out three in a no-decision against Washington. Odorizzi picked up the win against Miami in his last start. He pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowed one run on four hits and struck out five, but he has also been up and down winning only to of his last five decisions since June 20.

Max Fried (12-4, 4.07) will look for his fourth straight win on Tuesday when he is expected to face Jose Berrios (10-5, 2.80) who has allowed only six hits and two earned runs while striking out 19 over his last 14 innings.

Kevin Gausman (3-7, 6.19) will try to regain form in the series finale. Gausman over his last two starts has given up 11 runs on 17 hits in 10 2/3 innings. The Twins are scheduled to throw lefthander Martin Perez (8-4, 4.58).

ON THE AIR

All three games of the series will be broadcast by Fox Sports Southeast. Monday’s and Tuesday’s games will begin at 8 p.m., with Wednesday’s at 1 p.m.

All three games can be heard on the radio at 680 AM The Fan and Rock 100.5 FM.

John Bednarowski is the sports editor of the Marietta Daily Journal and the former president of the Associated Press Sports Editors. He can be reached at sportseditor@mdjonline.com or on Twitter @jbednarowski.

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