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Twins turn to ace to snap skid

Twins turn to ace to snap skid

Home hasn't been quite the same safe haven for the Twins this season that it was in the past.

After going a Major League-best 54-27 at home in 2006, the Twins have struggled within the confines of the Metrodome so far this year as they sit below .500 (7-8) through 15 games.

Clearly it's not what the Twins expect from their home field but something they believe will turn around -- and soon.

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"It's early," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of the record. "We've played some good baseball games here but haven't come out on top enough. I think before it's all said and done, we won't be sitting at .500 at home. I assure you of that. Most of the time do pretty good at home."

Things have been up and down for the club with injuries and some mistakes on the field taking their toll on the club's record. In the midst of a three game losing streak, the Twins will look to their ace Johan Santana to try and get the ship righted on Saturday against the Red Sox.

Over his career, Santana has not had much success against the Red Sox, going 3-4 with a 3.55 ERA in 11 appearances. Still, there is always a good feeling for the club when Santana takes to the mound.

"Hopefully tomorrow night we'll get another solid start from Johan and be able to score some runs," catcher Mike Redmond said.

Pitching matchup
MIN: LHP Johan Santana (3-2, 3.60)
Against the Tigers on Sunday, Santana gave up three runs over six innings and did not retire the side in order in any inning. His ERA is solid by most pitchers' standards, but the bar has been raised for Santana after winning two Cy Young Awards. Pitching at home usually is a good thing, but surprisingly, Santana has struggled at the Metrodome this season. He is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in three starts in Minnesota.

BOS: RHP Julian Tavarez (1-2, 7.58)
Tavarez was unable to complete six innings in any of his first four starts. He did manage to win his last start, giving up three hits and three runs over five-plus innings against the Yankees on Sunday. Tavarez has 11 strikeouts and eight walks in his 19 innings of work. Lifetime against the Twins, Tavarez is 2-2 with a 5.26 ERA in 16 games.

Player to watch
Torii Hunter is 0-for-6 against Tavarez in his career, but Hunter comes into Saturday's game riding a 19-game hitting streak. Hunter is hitting .380 during the run, going 30-for-79 with 11 doubles, five home runs and 16 RBIs.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FSN North

On radio
• KSTP 1500 AM

Up next
• Sunday: Red Sox (Curt Schilling, 3-1, 3.15) at Twins (Sidney Ponson, 2-3, 6.67), 1:10 p.m. CT
• Monday : Off-day
• Tuesday: White Sox (Javier Vazquez, 2-1, 4.02) at Twins (Boof Bonser, 0-1, 4.55), 7:10 p.m. CT

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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