Minnesota has lost four in a row, including a 5-0 loss to the major league-worst Royals on Monday.
The Twins fell to .500 for the first time since they were 3-3 on April 10. They have been shut out six times since the All-Star break, scoring a total of three runs in their last four games.
“Disappointing ballgame for us,” Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I really don’t know what to say about it, to tell you the truth.”
Gardenhire should feel better with his ace on the mound Tuesday.
Santana, the 2004 AL Cy Young award winner, is 7-3 with a 3.80 ERA in his career against the Royals.
Though Minnesota’s struggling offense has kept Santana’s victory total down and he hasn’t been as dominant as last season—when he went 20-6 with a 2.61 ERA and 265 strikeouts—Santana is throwing as well as anyone in the league right now.
He’s 4-2 with an impressive 1.74 ERA in 10 starts in August and September.
“This year he’s been very, very solid,” Gardenhire said. “As good as they get in this league. We haven’t exactly scored a lot of runs. We know that. But he’s backed it up.”
Kansas City is hoping to finish out another dismal season on a high note.
Four Royals pitchers combined on a three-hitter in Monday’s victory, Kansas City’s sixth in nine games. The win also snapped a five-game road losing streak for the Royals, who have two of their four shutouts this season against the Twins.