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Up next: Twins
By TOM JONES
Published September 4, 2006
UP NEXT: TWINS
WHAT'S NEW: The Twins come into Tropicana Field in the middle of a tight pennant race. They are battling the White Sox for an American League wild-card spot and have an outside shot at catching the Tigers for the Central Division crown, but time is running out on that. The race likely will come down to the final series of the season, when the Twins host the White Sox for three games.
INJURIES: The Twins are without three key players. Pitcher Brad Radke and sensational rookie Francisco Liriano are missing from the rotation. Radke, a Tampa native, is out with a shoulder injury, and Liriano is sidelined with an elbow injury. Liriano threw a bullpen session Saturday and felt no pain. The Twins are hoping both can return by the end of the season. Outfielder Shannon Stewart has a left foot injury that could keep him out for the rest of the season.
KEEP IN MIND: Since June 8, the Twins have the league's best record and have outscored opponents by more than 100 runs. Going into Sunday, they had the league's best batting average (.297) and on-base percentage (.306) since June 8. Joe Mauer, who leads the American League in hitting, is trying to become only the third catcher in the modern era to win a batting title and the first since 1942.
WHO'S HOT: Justin Morneau has hits in 14 of the past 17 games and in 40 of 49 since the All-Star break. Since June 22, Morneau's .371 average is third in the majors. . . . Johan Santana, who starts Tuesday, has won seven consecutive decisions and has not lost since July 9.
WHO'S NOT: Centerfielder Torii Hunter is batting .172 over his past eight games.
SERIES: The Twins lead 4-0, having swept a four-game series in Minnesota in July. Overall, the Twins lead 42-28 and are 16-15 at Tropicana Field.