Johan Santana will look to win his fourth straight decision and remain unbeaten in his career against the Cleveland Indians when he takes the mound for the Minnesota Twins in the middle game of their series.
Santana is 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA over his last five starts. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner is 5-0 with a 3.04 ERA in 17 career appearances, including seven starts, against the Indians.
The 26-year-old left-hander is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in a pair of starts against Cleveland this season. He struck out 14 and yielded three runs and four hits over eight innings in the Twins’ 4-3, 13-inning win on June 2.
The Twins have had trouble supporting their Venezuelan ace, scoring one run in four of his last six outings. Santana allowed one run and three hits over seven innings on Sunday in Minnesota’s 2-1 loss at Texas.
“That’s the way it’s been here, not just for me but all the starting pitchers,” Santana said. “There’s nothing you can really do. Everybody here has to do their jobs. I was doing my job and hoped we could put some runs up there. It wasn’t the case.”
Not getting run support is something that Cleveland starter Kevin Millwood can relate to. The Indians have averaged only 3.3 runs in his starts, including scoring two runs or fewer in 11 of his 24 outings.
Millwood pitched a five-hitter in a 2-1 loss at Toronto last Saturday, his first complete game since Aug. 7, 2003.
“I’ve had the urge to break things, but right now it’s to the point where it’s almost funny,” Millwood said. “There’s not much I can do about it. I figure I’d save myself a few hundred bucks and just sit down and have a beer.”
The 30-year-old right-hander is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three starts against the Twins this season. Millwood is 5-4 with a 3.11 ERA in 12 road starts this year.
C.C. Sabathia won his sixth straight start by yielding three hits over 7 1-3 scoreless innings as the Indians opened the series with a 6-1 victory on Friday. Cleveland won for the 20th time in 28 games.
In the race for the AL wild card, Cleveland is tied with the New York Yankees, one game behind AL West co-leaders Oakland and Los Angeles.
The Indians bolstered their bullpen on Friday by activating Arthur Rhodes off the disabled list. The veteran left-hander has not seen action since Aug. 2 due to an inflamed right knee.