Beckett to face Santana

Red Sox look to end homestand with victory

With 10 games left in the regular season, the Red Sox know they will not be catching the Yankees in the American League East.

The Red Sox's 8-2 loss to the Twins on Wednesday officially handed the Yankees the division crown for the ninth straight year and inched Boston closer to elimination from postseason contention altogether.

"We try to approach every game the same," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said after Wednesday's game. "Try to win tonight, that's the object. I wish we were ahead in the standings. We're not, so we go out and try to win the game at hand. That's what we always do, regardless of what the standings are."

To that end, the Red Sox send right-hander Josh Beckett (15-10) against Minnesota ace Johan Santana (18-5) Thursday night in hopes of not only avoiding a series sweep but a season sweep at the hands of the Twins, who have won all five previous meetings.

The Red Sox stand 9 1/2 games behind Minnesota in the American League Wild Card race while the Twins now lead the White Sox by 5 1/2 games for the Wild Card. Minnesota also remains just a half-game behind Detroit in the AL Central.

The Red Sox's five-game skid at the hands of the Twins is Boston's longest against Minnesota since losing six straight June 23-Aug. 10, 1994. Boston has dropped seven of eight against Minnesota, beginning Aug. 5, 2005, and is just 14-21 in the series dating to the start of the 2001 season.

Pitching matchup
MIN: LHP Johan Santana (18-5, 2.77)
Santana is so good, it's news if the Twins don't win when he's on the mound. That's what happened Friday when Minnesota fell to Cleveland, 5-4, in 10 innings. While Santana didn't get the loss, it was still a tough defeat to take. Santana allowed four runs -- all coming in the first four innings -- in eight innings of work. He gave up a two-run homer to Ryan Garko in the first and run-scoring hits by Franklin Gutierrez in the second and fourth.

BOS: RHP Josh Beckett (15-10, 5.02)
After notching only one win in his last nine starts, Beckett rebounded with an impressive performance at Yankee Stadium. He pitched six innings, allowing two runs and four hits in the win against New York. His 15th win matches a season high which he set last season.

Player to watch
Dustin Pedroia got Boston on the board with a game-tying single in the second. He has hit safely in his last five games, going 6-for-12 (.500), recording his second career two-hit game on Wednesday.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WEEI 850 AM, WROL 950 AM (Español)

Up next
• Friday: Red Sox (RHP Julian Tavarez, 3-4, 4.89) at Blue Jays (LHP Ted Lilly, 14-12, 4.44), 7:07 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Red Sox (RHP Devern Hansack, 8-7, 3.26 at Double-A Portland) at Blue Jays (RHP A.J. Burnett, 8-8, 3.97), 4:07 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Red Sox (RHP Kyle Snyder, 4-4, 6.28) at Blue Jays (LHP Gustavo Chacin, 8-3, 4.87), 1:07 p.m. ET

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.