Detroit (22-12) at Minnesota (17-18)

Fair Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 78° F
  • Game info: 3:45 pm EDT Sat May 12, 2007
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Since the end of April, the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins have been heading in opposite directions.

The surging Tigers look for their third straight victory when they continue their three-game series against the slumping Twins Saturday at the Metrodome.

Detroit (22-12) has won 10 of 11 since April 29, vaulting from fourth place in the AL Central into a one-game lead over second-place Cleveland.

Since that same date, Minnesota (17-18) has lost eight of 11 and fallen from second place to fourth, 5 1/2 games back of Detroit.

The Tigers won Friday’s series opener 7-3, improving to 7-0 in games Mike Maroth starts this season.

“Our team has been putting up a lot of runs when I’ve pitched,” said Maroth, who improved his record to 3-0.

Carlos Guillen and Gary Sheffield each homered as Detroit scored at least seven runs for the fifth time in six games. Guillen, who finished with four RBIs and was a double shy of the cycle, is batting .462 (12-for-26) during a seven-game hitting streak.

Sheffield, who went 3-for-5 with three runs scored, is hitting .343 (12-for-35) with five homers, 10 RBIs and 10 runs in his last nine games.

The Twins fell below .500 for the first time since June 17 of last season, when they were 33-34.

Minnesota led the majors with a 54-27 home record last season, but winning has been a struggle at the Metrodome in 2007. The Twins have lost 12 of 21 at home, and are just 3-9 at the Metrodome since April 15.

“I just can’t wait for it to be over with,” center fielder Torii Hunter said. “I’m tired of it. … We stink and we don’t have any luck. What can I say?”

Hunter is hitless in nine at-bats in his last two games, and is 3-for-16 (.188) in his career against Friday’s Detroit starter Chad Durbin (2-1, 4.45 ERA).

After going 0-1 with a 10.54 ERA in his first three starts of the season, Durbin is 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in his last three.

He gave up two runs, six hits and no walks in 7 2-3 innings of a 13-4 victory over Kansas City on Sunday. Durbin, who has started 62 career games, has not won back-to-back starts since Sept. 28 and Oct. 4, 2001, while pitching for the Royals.

The right-hander is 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA in eight career games, including six starts, against the Twins, although he has not faced them since 2004.

Along with his team, Twins starter Sidney Ponson (2-4, 6.42) is struggling at the Metrodome. The right-hander is 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA in four home starts.

At home on Sunday, Ponson gave up four runs, eight hits and four walks in 5 1-3 innings of a 4-3 loss to Boston.

He is 4-3 with a 5.44 lifetime ERA in seven starts against Detroit.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Durbin Phi vs. S. Ponson KC
8-7 Record 2-5
4.72 ERA 6.93
66 K 23
49 BB 17
1.43 WHIP 1.88

Scoreboard

Saturday, May 12