One pitcher looking to get on track after struggling early this season, and another who has been mostly consistent all year are set to take the mound on Tuesday for the start of a three-game series between the Twins and Red Sox at Target Field.
Right-hander Ricky Nolasco, who has a 5.64 ERA in seven starts, is slated to start for Minnesota, while righty Jake Peavy, who has a 3.09 ERA in seven outings, is scheduled to toe the rubber for Boston.
Nolasco has registered back-to-back quality starts, including against the Indians on Wednesday, when he allowed three runs on six hits over six innings, striking out nine. He also allowed three runs in a complete-game effort on May 2.
Nolasco has a 3.60 ERA over his last two starts, and hopes he's past a rough start to the year in his first season with the Twins since joining them on a four-year, $49 million contract in the offseason.
"You can work on it all you want," Nolasco said about his early-season mechanics. "You are going to end up fighting yourself sometime during the season, and hopefully this was that time."
Peavy has allowed more than three earned runs in just one of his seven starts. If the season ended today, he would have his lowest ERA since the 2008 season.
"I wanted to pitch deep in the game and tried a little something new, moving on the rubber," Peavy said after Boston's 4-3 win last Wednesday, in which he received a no-decision. "Great team win, and I'm excited that we climbed back to .500 going into an off-day."
Red Sox: Ortiz moves into fourth on Red Sox's homer list
David Ortiz, who played in Minnesota from 1997-2002 before joining the Red Sox, hit his 380th homer as a member of the Red Sox on Saturday. It broke a tie for fourth on Boston's all-time list with Dwight Evans.
"It means I'm getting old," Ortiz joked. "You play the game and the last thing you think about is having your name mentioned with those guys. But once it happens, it's an honor."
Twins: Mauer expected to return to first base
Joe Mauer, who has been bothered by a sore lower back, was in the lineup for the second straight day at designated hitter against the Tigers on Sunday, and is expected to return to action at first base on Tuesday after Monday's off-day. Mauer missed five straight games with back stiffness.
"By Tuesday, he should be ready to go," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So I think we're moving past that now, and we can get him back on the field on Tuesday."
• The Red Sox went 4-3 against the Twins last season, including a three-game sweep at Target Field from May 17-19.
• Twins shortstop Danny Santana has been taking fly balls in center field and could see more action there if Aaron Hicks continues to struggle. Santana has 23 games of experience in center field in the Minor Leagues. He replaced Hicks as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning in Sunday's game against the Tigers, delivered an RBI single and remained in center field for the rest of the game.
• Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected for the first time this season in the fourth inning of Sunday's game against the Tigers. Gardenhire was thrown out for arguing with third-base umpire Joe West, and he leads all active managers with 68 ejections in his career.
• The Twins and Red Sox are both among baseball's most patient teams, as Minnesota leads the Majors with 4.16 pitches per plate attempt, while Boston ranks second with 4.07.