Chicago (41-33) at Minnesota (41-35)

Cloudy Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 1:10 pm EDT Thu Jul 1, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Johan Santana says he is feeling as good as ever, and it shows.

The 25-year-old left-hander will try to win his fifth straight start and help the Minnesota Twins avoid a sweep as they close a three-game series against the division-rival Chicago White Sox.

Santana, who had elbow surgery this past offseason, has rediscovered his 2003 form, when he finished a career-best 12-3 with a 3.07 ERA in 2003.

After losing four straight starts with a 7.74 ERA from May 18-June 3, Santana has won four consecutive starts while compiling a 1.80 ERA. This includes Friday’s 6-3 home victory over Milwaukee during which he allowed one run and four hits over seven innings. He also struck out 10, and is now tied with Boston’s Curt Schilling for the AL lead with 100 strikeouts this season.

“I feel much better than the beginning of the season,” said Santana, last week’s AL Player of the Week. “Everything is coming together.”

The Twins, who spent 55 days alone or tied atop the AL Central division, fell one game behind the White Sox for first place following Wednesday’s 9-6 loss.

Minnesota has lost a season-high four in a row, and is in jeopardy of being swept in a three-game home series by the White Sox for the first time since June 26-28, 1995.

The White Sox have won four straight.

Paul Konerko, Jose Valentin and Joe Crede and Aaron Rowand each homered for Chicago, which defeated Minnesota for the sixth time in the last seven meetings. The White Sox have outscored the Twins 61-19 in those six defeats.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Garland Col vs. J. Santana Tor
12-11 Record 20-6
4.89 ERA 2.61
113 K 265
76 BB 54
1.38 WHIP 0.92