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Red Sox take aim at needed sweep of Twins

It appears as if a trip to Minnesota has cured the Boston Red Sox's ills. Tonight, the beleaguered group goes after a three-game sweep of the Twins at Target Field.

After snapping a five-game losing streak to start this series, Boston's offense exploded on Tuesday, as David Ortiz hit a two-run homer and drove in three, Mike Aviles had two doubles and a solo homer among his four hits, and the Red Sox rolled to an 11-2 win.

Aviles knocked in two runs and scored three times while Adrian Gonzalez finished 3-for-3 with a pair of RBI for the Red Sox, who haven't completed a sweep since July 22-24, when it took three home games from Seattle.

A win tonight would also give Boston its first sweep in Minnesota since taking all four games in a series at the Metrodome from July 3-6, 2000.

Josh Beckett (2-2) earned the win, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out five over six innings.

"It was about the offense today," said Beckett. "They were on their game."

Josh Willingham had two doubles and an RBI for the Twins, who dropped their fourth straight game.

Nick Blackburn (0-2) was charged with five runs on eight hits over three innings in the loss. Reliever Matt Maloney also gave up five runs on eight hits while recording just five outs.

Getting the call for Boston tonight will be righty Clay Buchholz, who is 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA this season. Buchholz was hit hard in a loss to the New York Yankees on Friday, as he gave up six runs (five earned) and nine hits - five home runs - in six innings.

In a span of 12 days Buchholz was forced to navigate through the Rays, Tigers and Yankees.

"It's three pretty tough lineups I've had to go at. You can take it for what it's worth," Buchholz said. "You never want to go out there and lose, but in the same sense, those are probably three of the best hitting ballclubs in baseball. It was a tough run for three games, but I'll change it up tomorrow and get after it."

Buchholz has faced the Twins three times and is 2-1 with a 4.67 ERA against them.

Minnesota, meanwhile, will counter with righty Liam Hendriks, who is still searching for his first major league win. Hendriks has not received a decision in either of his two starts this year, but has pitched to a 3.86 ERA. He is 0-2 in four starts last season.

Boston was 5-2 last season against the Twins.