The AL Central rivals continue their three-game set on Saturday at Comerica Park.
The Twins (41-37) opened the series with an 11-1 victory on Friday over the Tigers (46-32). Johan Santana allowed five hits over six innings and Joe Mauer hit a grand slam in the fifth after Tigers starter Justin Verlander walked the bases loaded.
“I got ahead of him in the count, 3-1, so I wanted to see if he threw one over. He did - 3-2, he threw it in the same spot,” Mauer said. “I was just trying to hit something hard to the outfield.”
Justin Morneau added three hits and drove in two runs for the Twins in his second game after missing almost a week because of a bruised lung. Typically a first baseman, the reigning AL MVP was the designated hitter on Friday and is expected to remain there for the next two games of this series. He was 0-for-3 with an RBI on Thursday in the DH spot.
Minnesota is averaging 6.5 runs in winning eight of its last 12 games. The Twins are 5 1/2 games behind the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians, and five games behind the Tigers.
Detroit, which averages nearly six runs a game to lead the majors, has lost three of its last four, and was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position on Friday. Placido Polanco homered for its lone run.
“When you go six down to a pitcher like Santana,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said, “you are going to lose.”
Detroit has lost five of its last six home games.
The Tigers try to bounce back when they send Andrew Miller (3-1, 2.70 ERA) to the mound. Miller is making his first start this season against an AL team after he faced St. Louis, the New York Mets, Philadelphia and Atlanta in his only four outings this season.
The 22-year-old left-hander won Sunday against the Braves, allowing four hits in six innings in a 5-0 victory. The outing came two days after the Tigers decided that Miller would stay in the rotation when Nate Robertson returns from the disabled list.
“I thought he had good movement on his ball,” Leyland told the Tigers’ official Web site. “He’s a work in progress, really. He’s got a ways to go, obviously. He’s by no means a finished product. But I like what I see. He did a good job.”
Miller’s only appearance against the Twins was a relief appearance on Sept. 8 in which he retired two batters, walked the other three he faced and they all came around to score.
Minnesota counters with rookie Kevin Slowey (2-0, 4.94 ERA), who is making his sixth major league start.
The 23-year-old right-hander has not made it past the sixth inning in any of those starts. He lasted just five innings on Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing five runs - four earned - and six hits in the 8-5 loss. Slowey did not factor in the decision.
He has never faced the Tigers.