Minnesota (92-62) at Detroit (79-75)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Detroit, MI
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sun Sep 26, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Brian Duensing(notes) spent most of the season in Minnesota’s bullpen, but his recent success as a starter has earned him a spot in the Twins’ postseason rotation.

The left-hander will try to win his fourth consecutive start Sunday and help the Twins avoid being swept by the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.

Duensing (10-2, 2.19 ERA) is 7-1 with a 2.43 ERA in 11 starts since joining the rotation July 23. That was enough for manager Ron Gardenhire to name the 27-year-old the starter for Game 3 of the AL division series next month.

Duensing is 3-0 with a 2.03 ERA in four starts since losing at Texas on Aug. 25. He overcame four walks by striking out six and allowing three runs in six innings of a 9-3 win over Cleveland on Monday.

“It’s important for him in that situation to be able to battle through,” Gardenhire said.

Duensing is 1-1 with a 2.55 ERA in three starts against the Tigers, but allowed five runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 6-5 loss in his only previous start at Detroit last September.

He will try to help the AL Central champions avoid being swept for the first time since June 22-24 at Milwaukee. Though the Twins are 9-8 versus the Tigers this season, they are 2-6 in Detroit.

Minnesota blew an early five-run lead and lost 11-10 in 13 innings Saturday to fall a game behind Tampa Bay in the race for the best record in the AL

Brandon Inge(notes), who became Detroit’s career leader in strikeouts, singled home the winning run as the Tigers (79-75) won their third straight game and seventh in eight contests. Austin Jackson(notes) and Johnny Damon(notes) each had four hits for Detroit, which has totaled 21 runs in the first two games of the series.

Jackson is 9 for 22 in his last four games against the Twins, but 0 for 4 against Duensing.

Rick Porcello(notes) (9-11, 5.22) looks to bounce back from a rough outing when he takes ball for the Tigers in the finale.

Though Porcello is 4-0 with a 3.41 ERA in his last five starts, he allowed five runs and a season-high 12 hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-5 win over Kansas City on Monday. He did not receive a decision.

“It stinks, but that’s the way it is,” Porcello told the Tigers’ official website.

The right-hander is 1-3 with a 3.15 ERA in six starts versus Minnesota. He allowed five runs and walked four in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4 loss on May 5 in his only start against the Twins in 2010.

Danny Valencia(notes) hit a grand slam and a solo shot Saturday for Minnesota. The rookie third baseman is 11 for 27 with 10 RBIs in six games versus Detroit this season.

The Twins expect Gardenhire to return to the dugout after he spent Saturday’s game in the clubhouse because he was hit in the right ear by a thrown ball during batting practice.

“I really got smacked,” said Gardenhire, who passed a concussion test but had blood drained from his ear. “There’s a lot of pain, but I should be OK.”

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Starting Pitchers

B. Duensing Min vs. R. Porcello Bos
10-3 Record 10-12
2.62 ERA 4.92
78 K 84
35 BB 38
1.20 WHIP 1.39


Sunday, Sep 26