Detroit (41-34) at Minnesota (41-35)

Fair Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 1° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Tue Jun 29, 2010
  • TV: FSD, FSNO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Returning to the top of the AL Central wasn’t nearly as joyous as the Detroit Tigers had hoped.

Now, they begin their quest to stay there without Joel Zumaya(notes).

The Tigers look to win three straight on the road for the first time this season Tuesday night when they face the Minnesota Twins.

Detroit (41-34) moved one-half game ahead of Minnesota (41-35) in the Central with a 7-5 victory in the opener of this three-game series Monday. However, the win came with a high cost as Zumaya left in the eighth after collapsing and squirming on the mound following a pitch.

The hard-throwing setup man fractured his elbow and will miss the rest of the season. He’s been plagued by injuries over the last three seasons but returned to being a force in 2010 with a 2.58 ERA in 31 appearances.

Overcoming Zumaya’s injury isn’t the only concern for Detroit. The club is uncertain to have slugger Magglio Ordonez(notes) back after he was a late scratch Monday due to a recurring injury to his side.

Manager Jim Leyland said the right fielder “doesn’t feel right” and would be examined by a doctor.

Ordonez is batting .319 with 10 homers and 49 RBIs.

With the injuries mounting, the Tigers will need continued strong production from Brennan Boesch(notes), who has moved from left to right in place of Ordonez. Boesch has a .355 average with eight homers and 23 RBIs in 24 games.

He leads all rookies with 12 homers and his 45 RBIs tie him with Atlanta’s Jason Heyward(notes) for the major league lead.

Detroit is looking to turn a sixth consecutive start by Armando Galarraga(notes) (3-1, 3.68 ERA) into a victory.

The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in five starts this month with all of them resulting in Tigers victories. He earned his first win since his near perfect game Thursday, allowing four runs and five hits over six innings of a 6-5 victory over the Mets.

“I gave my team a chance to win, I got the ‘W.’ That’s your job every time you take the mound,” Galarraga said.

Galarraga hasn’t done much of that in four starts at Minnesota, going 0-3 with a 6.08 ERA. He may want to be particularly careful with Joe Mauer(notes), who is 8 for 17 with two homers against him.

The Twins have dropped eight of 11 with their rotation posting a 7.43 ERA.

Nick Blackburn(notes) (6-5, 6.10), owner of the highest ERA of any qualifying pitcher in the majors, takes the mound for Minnesota.

The right-hander is 0-4 with a 12.05 ERA in five June starts after winning all five outings last month behind a 2.65 ERA.

Blackburn showed little signs of improvement Thursday, surrendering five runs and two homers in 3 2-3 innings of a 5-0 loss at Milwaukee.

“It’s the same thing that’s been happening to me, just letting some balls up and they hit them,” Blackburn said. “It’s getting pretty old, going out there and putting out efforts like that and not giving us even remotely a chance to win.”

Blackburn, though, has been solid at Target Field this season with a 4-0 record and a 3.19 ERA.

He is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA and two complete games in three home starts against Detroit.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Galarraga TEX vs. N. Blackburn MIN
4-9 Record 10-12
4.49 ERA 5.42
74 K 68
51 BB 40
1.34 WHIP 1.45

Scoreboard

Tuesday, Jun 29