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Buchholz continues his hot start to 2013

Six starts, six wins, and a 1.01 ERA.

It'd be hard to ask for more out of a pitcher than what Clay Buchholz has given the Red Sox this season.

As the Twins travel to Boston to start a four-game series with the Red Sox on Monday, Buchholz takes the mound looking to be the first pitcher to go 7-0 this season.

"Confidence is at the bottom of it," said manager John Farrell. "And that gives relaxation, and that's where no matter the player or position, when they're confident and relaxed, that's typically when their best talents come out consistently and leads to the performance that we're seeing. It's not any one given pitch. It's not a foreign substance. And it's a matter of a very good pitcher taking that ability to the mound each and every time."

Buchholz hasn't been friendly to the Twins lineup over recent years, going 3-0 with a 2.49 ERA in four starts against them since 2010. He's similarly dominated the entire American League Central, with an 11-2 record and 2.53 ERA against the division in that time.

"I think it's just the overall maturity of him knowing himself more as a pitcher," Farrell said. "We've talked about this a couple of times already. You see the game being under control. You don't see that emotional spike, where all of a sudden it's going to revert to maybe overthrowing or maybe relying on one type of pitch."

With a .178 batting average against, Buchholz hasn't allowed too many baserunners this season. And the ones that have reached have hardly scored. Buchholz has stranded 91.4 percent of them, the third most in the Majors among qualified starters.

"He doesn't abandon any one of those four pitches when he's had men on base," Farrell said. "That's why he's left a number of guys stranded."

During his last start on Wednesday at Toronto, Blue Jays TV broadcasters Dirk Hayhurst and Jack Morris accused Buchholz of applying an illegal substance to his forearm in order to doctor the ball. In a later interview with ESPN.com, Morris alleged that Buchholz was throwing a spitball during his outing, which lasted seven scoreless innings in a 10-1 Boston victory.

Buchholz, the American League Pitcher of the Month for April, denied those allegations, saying that he simply uses rosin and water to help his grip, not any foreign substances. The rest of the team brushed off Hayhurst and Morris' remarks, as well.

In typical Minnesota franchise fashion, Twins pitchers have walked just 63 batters in 27 games this season, far and away the best in the league.

Monday starter Vance Worley has just nine of them. But walks haven't been his problem. The pitches he's thrown over the plate have been.

Opponents are hitting Worley to a .362 clip this season. His last start against the Tigers was one he'll want to forget -- he allowed 10 hits and six runs, including three homers, while falling to 0-4 on the season.

It's not the start the Twins were looking for when they traded center fielder Ben Revere to Philadelphia to acquire the righty.

"I don't have an answer," said manager Ron Gardenhire. "We haven't had him that long. Right now, I know the reason is because he hasn't commanded the game early. He makes bad pitches that end up in the seats."

Red Sox: Bailey to undergo MRI
When Joel Hanrahan struggled, and eventually hurt his hamstring, in his first chance as closer for the Red Sox this season, Andrew Bailey took over the job he couldn't hold last season and was brilliant. But Bailey's dominance came at a price: right biceps soreness.

Bailey will undergo an MRI when he returns to Boston on Monday morning as the Red Sox hope to get a better understanding of what's bothering the right-hander.

"He's got an exam scheduled for [Monday] morning," Farrell said. "As much to give him some peace of mind in what he's dealing with, because it's in that last 10 percent of intensity where he feels some of the symptoms he's going through. For our own information and his piece of mind, we've got to get that looked at thoroughly."

Twins: Plouffe heating up
Expectations were high for Trevor Plouffe this season, following a year in which he hit 24 homers in just 422 at-bats.

He got off to slow start at the plate, but with another home run Sunday, Plouffe has gone 9-for-29 with two home runs over his past eight games, raising his average from .196 to .238.

With the middle of the Twins' order struggling to find consistency, a hot-swinging Plouffe could provide some comfort for Justin Morneau or Chris Parmelee in front of him.

Worth noting
• Morneau requested to be moved to designated hitter before Sunday's 4-1 win against the Indians because of general soreness. He had previously started 25 of 26 games at first base this season.

• Right-handers Cole De Vries and Samuel Deduno are making progress in their returns from injury. De Vries started his rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Fort Myers on Sunday, while Deduno was activated from the Minor League disabled list at Triple-A Rochester.

• Will Middlebrooks and Shane Victorino each had routine days off Sunday and are expected to be back in the lineup Monday.

• David Ortiz homered Sunday and has hit safely in 25 straight games dating back to last year, a career high.

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