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07/23/08 7:31 PM ET

Twins try to halt road woes in Cleveland

Minnesota (55-46) at Cleveland (44-56), Friday, 6:05 p.m. CT

NEW YORK -- After yet another three-game sweep at the hands of an American League East opponent on the road, the Twins saw their record away from the Metrodome drop to 21-27 on the season.

And what lies ahead for Minnesota? More road games.

With 61 games remaining on the season, the Twins will play 33 of them away from home. That includes an upcoming stretch of three contests in Cleveland following the team's off-day on Thursday.

So many games away from home is surely a challenge for a team that is currently in the midst of the AL Central pennant race. The Twins know that to keep pace with the other clubs in their division, they will have to get things going on the road.

"Obviously, we're going to have to play better on the road if we're considering ourselves a playoff team," Justin Morneau said. "We can't be six games under .500 on the road. So everywhere we have to play better, not just certain places."

That means doing well against teams on the road that are in the pennant chase as well, along with those who are no longer in the divisional hunt, like the Indians. The Twins dropped two of three contests at Progressive Field on June 10-12 during their only trip to Cleveland so far this season.

A turnaround with a series win in Cleveland would be a good start, but Minnesota is hoping to just start playing better baseball on the road overall.

"We know it's not going to be easy," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "So we're focusing on doing better. We've always talked about trying to remain .500 on the road and kill that at home. That's not going to change. Because we have a lot more games on the road, we might have to do better than that on the road. It just depends on how everyone else does. All we are trying to do is to win series."

Pitching matchup
MIN: RHP Livan Hernandez (10-6, 5.29 ERA)
The lone veteran in the Twins' rotation continued to show his dominance at home in his last start on Saturday. Hernandez extended his record at the Metrodome to 8-1 after holding the Rangers to just two runs on five hits over seven innings. But it's away from the Metrodome where the right-hander has found trouble. He's just 2-5 with a 7.48 ERA in nine road starts. And next up, he'll face a Cleveland team that pounded him at Progressive Field in his first start there on June 12, allowing seven runs on 12 hits in just three innings.

CLE: LHP Cliff Lee (13-2, 2.29 ERA)
Lee was pegged for 11 hits against the Mariners on Sunday, but that didn't prevent him from turning in his second complete game of the season. In nine innings, he limited the damage to a pair of runs with no walks and four strikeouts. He threw 77 percent of his pitches for strikes in the outing, and that's really been the key to his impressive '08 season, in which he became the first AL pitcher to reach 13 wins. Lee is 1-1 with a 2.41 ERA in two starts against the Twins this season.

Joe Mauer was given the day off on Wednesday against the Yankees, and Morneau started at designated hitter. It was an attempt to give both players a breather before the club's off-day on Thursday, Gardenhire said. ... Shortstop Adam Everett played a full nine innings in Fort Myers, Fla., and will join Triple-A Rochester for the remainder of his rehab assignement. ... Right-hander Shooter Hunt, the No. 31 pick in this year's First-Year Player Draft, has been promoted to Class A Beloit. Hunt pitched four games for rookie league Elizabethton, where he posted a 0.47 ERA with 34 strikeouts and just six walks in 19 innings.

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Up next
• Saturday: Twins (Scott Baker, 6-3, 3.26) at Indians (Fausto Carmona, 4-2, 3.10), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Twins (Nick Blackburn, 7-6, 3.83) at Indians (Jeremy Sowers, 1-5, 7.33), 12:05 p.m. CT
• Monday: Twins (Kevin Slowey, 6-7, 4.41) vs. White Sox (Mark Buehrle, 8-8, 3.56), 7:10 p.m. CT

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.