If the Boston Red Sox want to end their current skid, they need to turn around their play at the Metrodome.
The Red Sox (36-26) try to avoid losing their sixth straight series there when they play the Minnesota Twins in the middle contest of a three-game set on Wednesday.
Boston has lost 11 of its last 15 games at the Metrodome, including a 5-2, 12-inning thriller on Tuesday. The Red Sox have not taken a series there since 2000.
The two teams pitted their aces against each other in the series opener as Boston’s Curt Schilling and Johan Santana for Minnesota (29-34) each allowed just one run through eight innings. Twins rookie Jason Kubel, who missed last season with a knee injury, hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 12th to give his team its fourth win in five games.
“It’s all starting to come back now,” said Kubel, who is hitting .414 (12-for-29) with two homers and eight RBIs in his last six games.
Twins first baseman Justin Morneau had three hits in the win and is batting .588 (10-for-17) with nine RBIs over the last four games. Catcher Joe Mauer has recorded a hit in 20 of his last 21 games and is batting .489 (43-for-88) during that span.
Matt Clement (5-4, 6.68 ERA) will do his best to quiet the Twins’ bats when he makes his first start for Boston since an 8-3 victory on June 4 and his first career appearance against the Twins.
The right-hander held Detroit to three runs and six hits over six innings in that win, but left the game with fatigue. He was scratched from his scheduled start against Texas on Sunday due to spasms in his right arm.
Before the win over Detroit, Clement had allowed 14 runs and 16 hits in his previous two starts spanning just 7 2-3 innings. He is 4-1 with a 5.77 ERA on the road this season and will try to help the Red Sox avoid losing three in a row for the first time since April 26-28.
Boston has dropped five of its last eight games to fall into a first-place tie with the New York Yankees in the AL East.
Brad Radke (4-7, 6.17) tries to earn his first win in a month when he takes the ball for Minnesota. The right-hander is winless in his last five starts recording three losses, but has showed improvement in his last two outings giving up just three earned runs through 12 2-3 innings.
Radke allowed two earned runs, seven hits, walked three and struck out two Friday, but left after 5 2-3 innings and did not receive a decision in a 7-5 victory over Baltimore.
“It was disappointing because he was throwing the ball very, very good, and we wanted him to get through that inning with a lead and a chance to give him a win also,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
The 33-year-old veteran is 9-6 with a 4.83 ERA in 22 career starts against the Red Sox. He pitched seven shutout innings in his last appearance against them, a 12-0 victory on Aug. 5, giving up only four hits and one walk while striking out eight.