BOSTON -- On a day when San Diego, as well as all of baseball, is in mourning, the Twins by coincidence are calling upon another son of San Diego to help stop their losing streak.
The news of Tony Gwynn's death hit a few Twins hard, particularly Paul Molitor, who got to know the eight-time batting champion during the off-season of their Hall of Fame careers. Molitor spent several winters in San Diego, and got to know Gwynn, played golf with him.
"It's a tough day," Molitor said. "He was a very humble guy, obviously very talented, but in times like this you think more about the man than [his] ability. [Gwynn was] a gracious guy who gave back to his community throughout his career, and seemed to keep a great balance in his life. He worked very hard at his craft, but his life was a lot more than just that."
The Red Sox are planning a moment of silence before tonight's game for Gwynn, and then they'll face Twins starter Kevin Corriea, who grew up watching his fellow San Diego native turn the Padres into a winner. Correia is coming off perhaps his best start of the season, six shutout innings of the Blue Jays last Tuesday, and now makes his second career start in Fenway Park. He'll depend on his slider, manager Ron Gardenhire said.
"He went more from the cutter to the slider [in Toronto], got a little depth to the pitch," the manager said. "That was one of the pitches he was getting in trouble with -- the slider started diving a little better and it got them off it."
Correia was drilled by the Red Sox for five runs in four innings last month in Target Field, so it's a challenge. But the Twins, after some pitching ugliness on Saturday and some defensive ugliness on Sunday, need a solid start from the righthander. "This is a tough ballpark to pitch in," Gardenhire said. "You make mistakes and they go off that wall."
Gardenhire has made a couple of alterations to his lineup against Red Sox righthander Rubby De La Rosa, flipping Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier once more; Mauer moves into the third slot largely because he's a .321 hitter with nine doubles in 20 career games here. And Sam Fuld has been dropped to the ninth spot in the order, creating a "second leadoff" spot, with Eduardo Escobar moving up to eighth.
Here are the lineups for the first of three games in baseball's oldest ballpark:
De La Rosa RHP