The Detroit Tigers are doing their best to prove they can compete with the top teams in the AL Central.
While they’re still a game below .500, the Tigers have made some strides this week by first taking two of three from the Chicago White Sox and splitting the first four games with the Twins. Besides leading the division, the White Sox have the best record in baseball, while the Twins are five games ahead of the third-place Tigers in the AL Central.
The extended five-game series was scheduled to make up for two postponed games between the teams in April.
Bonderman, meanwhile, has established himself as Detroit’s ace, going 12-6 with a 4.05 ERA. The righty got his first win against the Twins in a 7-2 victory on June 21, in which he pitched a five-hitter. The win boosted his record against Minnesota to a 1-4, with a still bloated ERA of 7.67.
After the Tigers took the first game of the doubleheader behind seven strong innings from Sean Douglass, the Twins took the second game 5-2 in a matchup of top pitching prospects, who were making their second major league starts. Minnesota’s Scott Baker allowed five hits in seven innings, outpitching Justin Verlander, who gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings.
The Twins, who have won four of six, are hoping Justin Morneau has finally awoken from his slump.
The first-baseman entered the nightcap mired in a 4-for-31 slide, but came through with a double and solo home run, his 12th of the season.
“I just got tired of looking bad,” Morneau said. “I got mad.”
Morneau, who was hitting .309 on May 27, has seen his average plummet to .250.