Twins-Red Sox Preview

JEFF MEZYDLO (STATS Senior Writer)
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Though the Boston Red Sox have won two of three since being called out by their owner, they've hardly solved their issues at the plate. Perhaps facing a Minnesota Twins left-hander that's had his problems with them will help the Red Sox take this four-game set Thursday at Fenway Park. Hours after John Henry said that watching his franchise play this year was ''painful," Boston (24-30) did little offensively but rode eight strong innings from Clay Buchholz to a 1-0 victory over Minnesota on Tuesday. The Red Sox then broke out for 13 hits during a 6-3 victory in Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader, but regressed by recording two hits as their final 19 batters were retired during a 2-0 loss in the nightcap. "We turn the page," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "People want to dwell on things but we've got to turn page." Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts combined for seven hits and three RBIs in the opener but were 1 for 7 in Game 2. Batting a career-low .244, Pablo Sandoval is hitless in five at-bats in the series and 1 for 16 in his last five contests. While Boston is averaging 3.7 runs and batting .240 to sit near the bottom of the AL for a second consecutive season, executive vice president and general manager Ben Cherington remains publicly confident things can turn around. "We fully expect the offense to click and know where we expect it to be," he said prior to Wednesday's contests. Though Alejandro De Aza was batting .214 when Baltimore designated him for assignment last week, Boston acquired the veteran outfielder Wednesday with hopes of him possibly providing some sort of a spark. "We were able to acquire a veteran guy who has some success and a track record," manager John Farrell told MLB's official website. De Aza, a career .265 hitter, is expected to be available Thursday against Minnesota's Tommy Milone (2-1, 4.76 ERA), who was recalled to make a spot start despite going 0-2 with an 11.85 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox. All three of David Ortiz's hits in seven at-bats against Milone have left the park while Pedroia is 3 for 8 with a double when they've matched up. However, with Ricky Nolasco dealing with an ankle issue, Milone presents the best option after going 4-0 with an 0.70 ERA in five starts since being sent to Triple-A Rochester on May 1. Milone wasn't pleased with a demotion that came after he gave up nine runs, six walks and four homers over 9 2-3 innings of his last two major league starts, but feels it might prove to be beneficial. "Obviously I might have had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder," he said. "But I kind of used that to my advantage, went down, worked on some things, attacked the zone and did exactly what they wanted me to do." Brian Dozier went 3 for 7 with a homer overall Wednesday for the Twins (31-21), who have won four of six from Boston. Minnesota gets its first look at Steven Wright (2-2, 3.90), who makes his fourth start in place of the injured Justin Masterson. The right-handed knuckleballer allowed two of his three runs over 5 2-3 innings on homers by Josh Hamilton during Friday's 7-4 loss at Texas.