Yahoo! Sports: Are Twins MLB’s scariest team?
The Tigers look to remain perfect against the Twins at Comerica Park this season when their three-game series continues Tuesday.
Minnesota (65-46) is a major league-best 40-13 since June 8, and is one-half game behind Boston and the Chicago White Sox for the American League wild card lead. The Twins also have lost just eight of 26 since the All-Star break, but three of them have come against the Tigers.
Detroit (76-36) won Monday’s series opener 9-3 to move a season-best 40 games over .500.
“We knew before the season that we could win some games,” Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson said. “We didn’t expect this.”
Monday’s win snapped the Twins’ franchise record eight-game road winning streak and dropped them 10 1/2 games behind Detroit in the AL Central. The Tigers are 10-3 against the Twins this season, including a 7-0 record at Comerica Park where they’ve outscored Minnesota 56-11.
“Every time you make a mistake against that team, they make you pay for it,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Ivan Rodriguez is batting .412 (28-for-68) with eight home runs and 14 RBIs in his career against Minnesota starter Brad Radke (10-8, 4.75 ERA). Radke is 19-9 with a 4.79 ERA in 36 career games against the Tigers, but has lost all three starts this season, posting a 10.32 ERA in those games.
The Tigers are hitting .481 against the right-hander this season.
Radke gave up a season-high six runs in a season-low 2 1-3 innings of a 9-0 loss to them on April 28. Facing Detroit again on July 29, Radke left after only three innings with tightness in his pitching shoulder.
He gave up four runs of in that game, but bounced back in his next start, allowing two runs and four hits in a season-high eight innings of a 8-2 win over Kansas City on Thursday.
“I knew I was going to feel better today,” Radke said. “I knew I didn’t wake up aching. Things might be looking up. I know I’m going to be hurting the next four days. As long as I’m feeling good on the day I pitch, I’m fine. I can deal with that.”
Radke is 6-1 with a 3.05 ERA in his last 10 starts.
While Radke has struggled against the Tigers this season, Detroit’s Nate Robertson (10-7, 3.82) has won all three of his starts against the Twins, beating Radke twice. Overall, Robertson is 5-5 with a 4.64 ERA in 13 career games against Minnesota, including a 2-2 record in six games at Comerica Park.
Robertson is coming off his best start since the All-Star break, but still finished with a loss. The left-hander allowed two runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 2-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday.
“We’re human, it’s a game set up for failure,” Robertson said. “You fail more than you succeed. You do, you fail more than you succeed on an individual level.”
Minnesota’s Justin Morneau had two doubles and an RBI on Monday to give him 99 RBIs on the season. Morneau is 8-for-20 (.400) with four doubles and 11 RBIs in his last five games.
He still needs one homer to become the first Twins player with 30 in a season since Kent Hrbek (34), Tom Brunansky (32) and Gary Gaetti (31) in 1987.