Minnesota (51-47) at Toronto (48-50)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Toronto, ON
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 7:07 pm EDT Mon Jul 23, 2007
  • TV: FSNO, TSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Minnesota’s Johan Santana might be one of the game’s best pitchers, but the Toronto Blue Jays’ starters have been dominant of late.

Santana looks to bounce back from his first loss since early June, while the Blue Jays hope for a third straight strong dominant pitching performance when the teams open a three-game series Monday in Toronto.

Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay threw a three-hitter in Sunday’s 8-0 win over Seattle. It came one day after Josh Towers threw 6 2-3 innings in a 1-0 win over the Mariners. Overall, Toronto pitchers have not allowed a run in the last 22 innings.

The Blue Jays (48-50) will turn to Shaun Marcum (5-4, 3.73 ERA) Monday as they try for their third win in a row. The right-hander, who pitched out of the bullpen until joining the rotation in mid-May, is 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA in 13 games as a starter.

“(Marcum) has been unbelievable all year - he really has,” manager John Gibbons told the Blue Jays’ official Web site. “You look forward to the day he takes the mound - you really do. He’s going to give you a chance to win.”

Marcum, though, allowed three runs in six innings of a 6-1 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday.

He is 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA in two career starts against the Twins. He pitched effectively at Minnesota on June 26, when he allowed one run in eight innings of Toronto’s 12-inning, 2-1 defeat.

Santana (11-7, 2.65), meanwhile, is coming off a 3-2 loss to AL Central-leading Detroit on Wednesday - his first defeat since June 9.

The reigning AL Cy Young award winner allowed three runs - off a two-run double and solo homer from Magglio Ordonez - and five hits in eight innings against Detroit to fall to 5-1 with a 1.62 ERA in his last seven starts.

“When you make mistakes like that, and you have a pretty good hitter out there, they’re going to do damage,” Santana told the Twins’ official Web site. “That’s how they won the game.”

The left-hander is 2-3 with a 4.15 ERA in nine games - six starts - against Toronto.

Minnesota (51-47) lost 7-2 to the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, but finished 6-4 on their longest homestand of the season despite being swept by Detroit in three games.

Justin Morneau and Jeff Cirillo each drove in runs Sunday for the Twins, who are 4-3 against Toronto this season.

Morneau is batting .375 (6-for-16) with five RBIs in his last four games and .333 (5-for-15) with a homer and seven RBIs in four games against the Blue Jays in 2007.

Alex Rios went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and Troy Glaus hit a three-run homer to pace the Blue Jays Sunday. Rios is batting .387 (12-for-31) with two homers in seven games against the Twins this season.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Santana Tor vs. S. Marcum Cle
15-13 Record 12-6
3.33 ERA 4.13
235 K 122
52 BB 49
1.07 WHIP 1.25

Scoreboard

Monday, Jul 23