Johan Santana admits his last few starts have been miserable.
“The last couple games, it feels like every time they hit the ball, they hit it out of the park,” the Minnesota Twins’ left-hander said.
Santana will try to post his first win since joining the rotation a month ago as the Twins complete a three-game series with the major league-worst Detroit Tigers at the Metrodome.
Santana, who has alternated between the bullpen and rotation this season, won his first three decisions as a starter before becoming a full-time member of the staff on July 5. He has not won since, going 0-4 in five outings. He has surrendered 18 runs over his last 27 1-3 innings.
On Tuesday, Santana was reached for five runs and six hits over 5 2-3 innings in the Twins’ 7-5 setback to Baltimore.
Santana has allowed five homers in his last 11 innings, spanning two starts, after surrendering only five in the previous 79 1-3 innings.
The Twins suffered their first loss in 17 meetings with the lowly Tigers with Saturday’s 9-2 setback. Craig Monroe belted a three-run homer as Detroit beat Minnesota for the first time since May 5, 2002.
The loss ended the Twins’ three-game winning streak and left them 4 1/2 games behind first-place Kansas City in the AL Central.
Warren Morris had a three-run triple for Detroit, which snapped a five-game losing streak.
STANDINGS: Tigers - 5th place, 29 GB, AL Central. Twins - 3rd place, 4 1/2 GB, AL Central.
TIGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Matt Roney (1-6, 4.62 ERA). The rookie right-hander has won just one of eight starts since moving into the rotation in June. He has lost four consecutive decisions, and three straight starts, including Tuesday’s 11-5 setback at Seattle. Roney was pounded for a career-high seven runs and six hits over two innings—his shortest stint as a starter. He has yielded a run and two hits in two innings of relief against the Twins.
TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Santana (4-3, 3.49 ERA). Santana is 1-0 with one save and a 1.76 ERA in seven career appearances, including one start, against the Tigers.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Tigers - Dmitri Young, .286 avg., 22 HRs, 59 RBIs and 53 runs; Alex Sanchez, 24 SBs. Twins - Jacque Jones, .309 avg.; Torii Hunter, 18 HRs and 67 RBIs; Shannon Stewart, 60 runs; Cristian Guzman, 12 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Twins, 7-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Tigers - 1B Young sat out consecutive games with a nagging leg injury before pinch-hitting Saturday. He was hit by a pitch. … RHP Roney is 0-6 with a 6.86 ERA in 16 appearances, including six starts, at home this season. … Young is 3-for-5 with a homer in his career against LHP Santana. Twins - Minnesota fell one win shy of its club record for consecutive wins against an opponent, set against Boston from 1965-66. … Santana is 2-2 with a 4.14 ERA in 19 appearances, including five starts, at home this year. … Minnesota is 3-2 on its six-game homestand.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Tigers - 16-42 on the road; Twins - 31-27 at home.
INJURIES: Tigers - C A.J. Hinch (groin), 15-day DL; INF Dean Palmer (shoulder, neck), 60-day DL. Twins - 3B Corey Koskie (back), 15-day DL; OF Lew Ford (arm), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Fetters (hamstring), 60-day DL; LHP Eric Milton (knee), 60-day DL.