With the American League Central title in their sights, the Detroit Tigers can trim their magic number in half on Monday, when they open a three-game series against the host Minnesota Twins.
The Tigers failed to cut into the margin Sunday, dropping a 6-3 decision to the Chicago White Sox in the series finale. Although a division title can't be achieved with second-place Cleveland enjoying a day off on Monday, Detroit can wrap up a postseason spot with a victory over the reeling Twins.
"Everybody wanted to clinch at home," Tigers catcher Brayan Pena said. "But it doesn't matter how we do it. We just want to do it, because if we do it, everybody knows that we're coming back here."
Minnesota has lost 14 of its last 18 - including all three tilts in its series versus AL West champion Oakland.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN (Detroit), FSN North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Tigers RH Justin Verlander (13-12, 3.66 ERA) vs. Twins RH Mike Pelfrey (5-13, 5.34)
Verlander fell to 1-4 in his last nine starts after allowing three runs on four hits in seven innings against Seattle on Wednesday. The 2011 American League Cy Young Award winner has yielded seven homers during the nine-start stretch. Verlander was blitzed in his last meeting with Minnesota on Aug. 22, permitting six runs on 10 hits in seven frames of a no-decision.
Pelfrey lost his third straight start Tuesday, when he allowed three runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings against the White Sox. The 29-year-old hasn't won since yielding three runs in 6 2/3 frames against the Tigers on Aug. 20. Although the victories have been scarce, Pelfrey has permitted only four homers in his last 10 starts and 13 on the season (146 2/3 innings).
1. Tigers 1B Prince Fielder belted his 25th homer Sunday to extend his hitting streak to eight games.
2. Minnesota LF Oswaldo Arcia homered and drove in six runs in Sunday's 11-7 loss to Oakland.
3. Detroit 3B Miguel Cabrera was given the day off on Sunday to rest his sore groin. The 2012 Triple Crown winner is listed as day-to-day.