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HOU@BOS: Lackey earns first win of 2013 season

All season long, offense has eluded the Twins -- then they hung 15 runs on the Red Sox on Wednesday night.

When the two clubs meet again in the finale of a four-game set on Thursday, Minnesota will be hoping it didn't use up too much of its pop in one night.

The suddenly revived Twins offense faces John Lackey, who will be making his third start since he returned from the disabled list. Lackey threw 98 pitches in Saturday's 5-1 loss to the Rangers, a big jump from the 81 he had thrown in his previous outing, which was his first since sustaining a right biceps injury.

"I got my pitch count up, so hopefully next start will be pretty much normal," Lackey said. "It's not all the way there, but a few more starts. I like where it's heading."

If there was ever a time for Lackey to work deep into a ballgame, the Sox are hoping it's Thursday. Allen Webster lasted just 1 2/3 innings on Wednesday, and although Felix Doubront cleaned up most of the bullpen mess by going 5 1/3 frames, Boston could really use some length.

Opposite Lackey will be Minnesota right-hander Kevin Correia, who has been arguably the club's most consistent starter this season. However, Correia is coming off his worst outing of the year in Cleveland, where he allowed four runs during five frames in a 7-3 loss to the Indians on Saturday. It marked the first time this season he did not finish the seventh inning.

"I just didn't have command of my pitches like I did in my last couple starts," said Correia, who fell to 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA. "I fell behind guys, and they took advantage."

Correia will have to contend with Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who has been one of the league's hottest hitters all year. Ortiz had a 27-game hitting streak -- tied for the sixth longest in Boston franchise history -- snapped on Wednesday with an 0-for-5, two-strikeout night.

Minnesota will be looking to take three of four at Fenway Park for the second consecutive season.

Twins: Carroll a veteran presence
Minnesota infielder Jamey Carroll has seen his playing time decrease this season, but it hasn't altered the way he plays the game.

"He just goes out there and gets it done," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He handles the bat very well. He's very competitive, so it's nice to move him around."

Carroll, a 12-year veteran, started at shortstop on Wednesday for the first time this season. He went 1-for-5 with two runs scored and is now hitting .263.

Red Sox: Ross, Middlebrooks recovering
Catcher David Ross and third baseman Will Middlebrooks are still feeling the effects of a collision in foul territory Tuesday night. Their status is in doubt for Thursday's series finale.

Ross (left quad contusion) is hopeful he'll be back in the lineup by the weekend. The club is still waiting on MRI results on Middlebrooks' injury.

"Will has got some soreness on the right side of the ribcage," manager John Farrell said. "He just did get an MRI this afternoon. We don't have the results of that back yet. We do know through the imaging and the tests last night there was no fractures of any kind, so that's checked out. He's sore. He's day to day."

Worth noting
• Twins catcher Joe Mauer is hitting .435 with a pair of homers in his career against Lackey.

• Mauer is one double shying of tying Torii Hunter for sixth all-time in franchise history at 259. First baseman Justin Morneau is fifth at 264.

• In 14 career at-bats against Correia, Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino has notched six hits -- including one home run.

• The Twins haven't won a season series against the Red Sox since 2006. The two clubs will meet three more times this season after Thursday's game.

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