Neither Detroit nor Minnesota put on an exemplary pitching display in the opener of their three-game series, but each team has good reason to hope for a better performance in the next matchup.
Carl Pavano(notes) makes his Twins debut Saturday, looking to win his fourth game this season against a Tigers club that will have Justin Verlander(notes) on the mound trying to tie the major league lead with his 13th victory.
Minnesota (53-56) and Detroit (58-50) combined to allow 30 hits in the Tigers’ 10-8 victory Friday. Neither starter made it past the fifth inning, with Minnesota’s Anthony Swarzak(notes) failing to make it out of the second after giving up seven runs—six in the first.
Armando Galarraga(notes) gave up four runs in five innings for Detroit, which held off a late rally after the Twins scored twice in the ninth and had runners on first and second before Orlando Cabrera(notes) struck out to end the game.
The Tigers moved 5 1/2 games ahead of the third-place Twins in the AL Central and three games ahead of second-place Chicago.
“We got in the right column, it wasn’t easy,” said manager Jim Leyland, whose team has won three straight and is 20-6 at home since June 5.
Leyland will hand the ball to Verlander (12-5, 3.29 ERA), who is trying for his third straight win. He did not receive a decision Monday against Baltimore after allowing five runs while striking out eight over eight innings of a 6-5 win.
The right-hander has gone at least seven innings in each of his last five starts.
Verlander did not get a decision after pitching 6 1-3 innings against the Twins on May 14, allowing two runs while striking out 13 in a 6-5 loss.
The Tigers may need another solid outing from Verlander because they’ve yet to figure out a way to beat Pavano (9-8, 5.37), who is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA against them this season.
Minnesota acquired the right-hander from Cleveland on Friday for a player to be named. The Twins are hoping Pavano can provide them with a steady arm for a rotation that has struggled recently, going 1-5 with a 7.91 ERA over the last seven games.
Pavano gave up one run in eight innings of an 11-1 victory over Detroit on Sunday.
“He’s been throwing the ball well recently, so we’ll see,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Put him out there and let him go.”
Pavano will face a Detroit team that recorded 15 hits Friday—seven for extra bases. Placido Polanco(notes) had four hits while Alex Avila(notes) homered and drove in four in his second game since being called up from Double-A Erie. Avila is the son of Detroit assistant general manager Al Avila.
“The last two games have been a blast for me,” he said.
Cabrera will try to extend a career-high 17-game hitting streak Saturday. The veteran shortstop, acquired from Oakland at the trade deadline, is 8 for 29 (.276) against Verlander.