The first-place Tigers look to extend their winning streak over the Twins to 11 games Friday night at Target Field.
Jhonny Peralta(notes) homered and drove in three runs while Brennan Boesch(notes) added a two-run shot Thursday as Detroit (52-46) continued its recent dominance over Minnesota with a 6-2 win. Winners of four straight at Target Field, the Tigers have averaged 7.9 runs during their 10-game run over the Twins.
That ties the longest such winning streak in the majors against one team. The New York Yankees have won 10 straight over Oakland.
Thursday’s victory also moved Detroit one-half game ahead of Cleveland for the AL Central lead and six games in front of the fourth-place Twins (46-52).
“Where we’re at in the division, every game is important,” said Justin Verlander(notes), who pitched eight solid innings for his 13th win. “It’s good to get Game One. Hopefully we get three more and get out of here.”
Peralta, hitting .366 with six homers and 20 RBIs his last 28 games, is 10 for 19 with three home runs and nine RBIs versus Minnesota this season. Teammate Victor Martinez(notes), who had two hits Thursday, is batting .462 (12 for 26) with 10 RBIs against the Twins in 2011.
Boesch, meanwhile, has batted .350 with 10 homers and 23 RBIs his last 40 games.
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 9.13 ERA in four starts versus Minnesota, and allowed seven runs in 6 2-3 innings of an 8-7 home win over the Twins on May 31. However, in his last start at Target Field on Sept. 1, Scherzer gave up one run, four hits and struck out nine in nine innings of a 2-1, 10-inning defeat.
Scherzer allowed two runs in eight innings of a 5-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Saturday.
Joe Mauer(notes) and Michael Cuddyer(notes), hitting a combined .312 (5 for 16) against Scherzer, each had two hits Thursday, with Cuddyer delivering an RBI. Mauer played his fifth game at first base and is batting .550 (11 for 20) at the position.
The Twins could get a boost with slugger Jason Kubel(notes) expected to come of the disabled list Friday for his first game since May 30. Kubel was batting .310 with five homers and 30 RBIs when he suffered a sprained left foot.
“I wanted to make sure he was ready,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He said, `Gardy, I feel good.’”
Though the left-hander is 1-2 with a 4.97 ERA in five starts versus Detroit, he has not allowed an earned run over 13 innings while going 1-0 in two home starts against the Tigers. Duensing, however, surrendered six runs in 4 2-3 innings against Scherzer and the Tigers in the May 31 game.
He allowed three runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-3 win over Kansas City on Sunday to improve to 2-0 with a 2.01 ERA in three July starts.
Martinez and Peralta are hitting a combined .500 (9 for 18) with five doubles against him.