Johan Santana looks to win at the Metrodome for the first time in more than two months and avoid a third straight loss overall as the Minnesota Twins open a three-game series with the lowly Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Santana, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, hasn’t won at home since April 10 against the Chicago White Sox—a span of eight starts. He has also lost his last two outings, posting a 7.71 ERA.
The left-hander had a streak of 16 straight road wins end in his last start, yielding six runs and six hits in five innings in a 7-6 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday.
Santana, though, pitched a complete-game gem against the Devil Rays on May 6, surrendering six hits while striking out seven in a 7-1 win.
Minnesota had a chance for a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals, but lost the series finale 3-1 on Wednesday.
The Twins, who left 10 runners on base and four in scoring position, missed out on a fourth straight victory.
After losing 11 of 15 earlier this month, Minnesota is still trying to find its stride and figure out how to catch the first-place White Sox in the AL Central.
“We got in a little rut, so to win two out of three I think is a positive for us,” Twins left fielder Shannon Stewart said.
Twins third baseman Michael Cuddyer bruised his left hand when he was hit by a pitch in the seventh. He later left the game for X-rays, which were negative. His status for Friday’s game is uncertain.
Tampa Bay lost 12-3 to the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.
The Devil Rays scored just 14 runs during a homestand in which they lost five of six, including a 3-1, 11-inning defeat to Toronto on Tuesday.
Tampa Bay has fallen a season-worst 25-games under .500. The Devil Rays were 40-39 after 79 games last season en route a franchise-record 70 wins.
“We’re just getting beat,” Tampa Bay’s Aubrey Huff said. “I don’t know what to say. I’m sick of answering the same questions every year. It gets old. I don’t know what to tell you.”
Huff played in right field for the first time since bruising his right knee last week. He was the designated hitter the previous two games.
Tampa Bay first baseman Travis Lee picked up his second error in 10 games when he misplayed a grounder in the second inning Wednesday. He had a streak of 170 consecutive errorless games—eight short of the AL record for a first baseman—before his error June 19.