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Twins Looking To Rebound In Toronto

(Sports Network) - The last time Carl Pavano faced the Toronto Blue Jays he was rocked in only four innings of work. The Minnesota Twins hurler will shoot for redemption tonight in the opener of a three-game series at Rogers Centre.

Pavano took the hill at Toronto back on May 18 in an 11-2 loss and was battered for six runs and 10 hits, falling to 3-5 in 10 career starts against the Jays to go along with a 6.22 earned run average. Pavano has rebounded nicely since then and is 4-0 with a 1.83 ERA in his last five starts.

The right-hander did not record a decision in Minnesota's 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay last Thursday, as he was reached for three runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings of work. Pavano, who is 9-6 with a 3.30 ERA in 16 overall starts this season, is 4-3 in seven trips to enemy mounds in 2010.

Minnesota just lost three of four matchups with the Tampa Bay Rays and is coming off Sunday's 7-4 setback at Target Field. Nick Blackburn was saddled with the loss for surrendering seven runs -- four earned -- and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings of work.

Jim Thome had two hits and two RBI, while Justin Morneau and Delmon Young both went 2-for-4 and knocked in a run for the Twins, who have lost nine of the past 13 contests and sit a half-game behind Detroit for the AL Central lead.

"We're not getting the big hits as consistently as we need to," Morneau said on the team's site. "We've been missing those hits. You can look at our numbers, the runners in scoring position and all that stuff, and we haven't done as well there as we need to."

The Twins will also visit the Detroit Tigers for three games and are 18-21 away from home this season. Morneau and catcher Joe Mauer will both start in next week's All-Star Game in Anaheim, CA.

Much like the Twins, Toronto enters this series on a losing note, having lost seven of its last eight games. After taking the opener of a three-game series against the New York Yankees in extra innings, the Blue Jays dropped the final two tests of the set and suffered a 7-6 loss in 11 innings Sunday.

David Purcey was dealt the loss for allowing Marcus Thames' game-winning hit in the bottom of the 11th, while starter Brandon Morrow put his team in a hole by yielding five runs and nine hits over six frames.

Adam Lind and Lyle Overbay both homered and Dewayne Wise belted a three-run homer and finished with four RBI for the Jays.

Toronto will also welcome AL East-rival Boston up north on the current residency and are expected to send Jesse Litsch to the hill Tuesday. Litsch will make his fifth start of the season and is 0-3 with a 6.98 ERA over his first four starts. He is coming off a tough loss at Cleveland in which he held the Tribe to a pair of runs over six innings of work.

The righty hopes to bounce back against a Minnesota team he's undefeated against, going 3-0 with a 3.10 ERA in five career starts.

The Blue Jays will also host Boston for three games and will be represented by catcher John Buck and outfielders Jose Bautista and Vernon Wells in next week's All-Star Game.

Minnesota and Toronto split a two-game set this season back on May 17-18 at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays have won 12 of the previous 16 matchups between the teams.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.