Preview: Tigers host Minnesota Twins
The Detroit Tigers ended their road trip with two big victories over the first-place Cleveland Indians and their reward is 12 of the next 17 at home.
The Tigers look to get on a run when they host the struggling Minnesota Twins on Thursday to start a four-game series. Detroit beat the Indians 11-7 Wednesday to pull within one-half game of the Indians in the American League Central. Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera is red hot, going 15-for-32 with six homers and 12 RBIs in the last eight games.
The Twins have been outscored 51-22 during their eight-game losing streak. Joe Mauer is still batting .337 for Minnesota, but has not knocked in a run in eight games. Justin Morneau has continued to produce, batting .378 with 20 RBIs in May. The former American League MVP is 9-for-21 in the last five contests.
TV: 7:08 p.m. ET, Fox Sports North (Minnesota), Fox Sports Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins LH Scott Diamond (3-4, 4.99 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Rick Porcello (2-2, 5.92)
Diamond has struggled in his last two turns after four consecutive quality starts in which he went 3-1. The 26-year-old allowed 12 runs in 10 innings to drop games to Baltimore and Boston at home. Diamond beat the Tigers 6-2 on May 1, giving up two runs over six innings. The left-hander is 2-2 in six career starts against Detroit with a 2.72 ERA. Cabrera is 8-for-16 against Diamond.
Porcello has allowed three or fewer runs in his last four starts, winning two decisions. The right-hander beat Texas 2-1 his last appearance by yielding five hits and one run over 5 2/3 frames. Porcello surrendered three runs in 5 1/3 innings, losing to Minnesota on April 4. The 24-year-old is 6-5 in 16 starts against Minnesota overall with a 3.35 ERA. Josh Willingham is 6-for-10 with a homer against Porcello.
1. Cabrera has seven homers and 43 RBIs, batting a major-league high .517 with runners in scoring position.
2. Minnesota’s rookie CF Aaron Hicks posted his first career three-hit game Wednesday and homered for the fourth time in May.
3. The Tigers have at least one extra-base hit in 38 straight games, trailing only Pittsburgh’s current 41-game run.