Angels-Twins Preview

The Minnesota Twins recorded their only set of back-to-back

victories last month at Target Field against the Los Angeles

Angels.

After their best performance at the plate in May, the Twins will

try again to post two straight wins over the visiting Angels on

Wednesday night while adding to right-hander Ervin Santana’s losing

streak.

Minnesota had produced a combined eight runs and 20 hits – good

for a .112 average – during its first six games this month. The

Twins (8-21) broke out of that slump with a 12-hit performance in

Tuesday’s 5-0 victory.

Ryan Doumit belted a two-run homer in the first inning, his

third in three games, as his team recorded its most hits since

April 27 and its most runs in eight contests.

“We needed a win bad. We needed something to jump-start us,”

outfielder Josh Willingham said. “We’ve been playing from behind a

lot and maybe putting too much pressure on ourselves to get hits

and score runs. It’s a lot better to play ahead.”

Minnesota earned its only back-to-back wins April 11-12 against

the Angels at Target Field. The Twins have faced Los Angeles

(13-18) eight times in 2012 but will have their first matchup with

Santana (0-6, 5.59 ERA) in the final meeting between the clubs this

season.

The right-hander, 0-9 in 10 starts dating to Sept. 6, had a 7.23

ERA through his first four outings this season but he’s been

plagued by a lack of run support. Santana received no runs over the

last five starts and two in his six this season.

That’s kept him from earning wins during solid performances in

Cleveland on April 29 (two runs over seven innings) and against

Toronto on Friday (three runs and three hits over a season-high

eight).

“I’m not a hitter. My position is just to pitch,” Santana told

the Angels’ official website. “I know we’re trying the best we can

to score runs, but it hasn’t happened for me yet.”

Santana is 3-3 with a 4.55 ERA in nine career starts against the

Twins, but gave up one run and eight hits during a complete-game

victory Aug. 2 in Anaheim. This will be his first start at Target

Field.

While Santana hopes to earn his first win, the Twins’ Carl

Pavano (2-2, 4.62) will try to record back-to-back victories for

the first time after giving up a season-low two earned runs over

six innings during Friday’s 3-2 win in Seattle.

The right-hander allowed five runs over 6 2-3 innings to the

Angels on April 11 and avoided the loss when Minnesota rallied for

a 6-5 victory.

Willingham, who returned from a skin infection Tuesday, hit a

two-run homer in support of Pavano during that game. The Twins are

also expected to get Alexi Casilla back from a minor shoulder

injury Wednesday.

Casilla is 1 for 7 in his career against Santana, while Joe

Mauer is 12 for 23. Albert Pujols, batting .190 in his first 30

games with the Angels, is 3 for 12 all-time versus Pavano.