Detroit (53-47) at Minnesota (47-53)

Fair Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 46° F
  • Game info: 4:10 pm EDT Sun Jul 24, 2011
Preview | Box Score | Recap

After suffering their first loss to the Minnesota Twins in nearly 11 months, the Detroit Tigers are hoping Rick Porcello(notes) will help them bounce back.

The Tigers right-hander will try to improve to 4-0 this month with his fourth straight win over the Twins on Sunday.

Detroit (53-47) had won 11 in a row against Minnesota before a 4-1 loss on Saturday, its first defeat in the series since Sept. 1. Michael Cuddyer(notes), hitting .360 with 18 RBIs in 21 games this month, had an RBI single in the first inning. Danny Valencia(notes) added a solo homer and Delmon Young(notes) hit a two-run double.

“I like to beat these guys,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We needed a win. That was big. They’ve played better than us up to this point and we’re still trying to catch them. Today really would have made it tougher on us if we would’ve lost.”

The Twins (47-53) are fourth in the AL Central, but only six games behind division-leading Detroit.

They haven’t fared well lately against Porcello (9-6, 4.76 ERA), who has given up three runs in each of his three July starts. He is also 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA in his last three starts against Minnesota, earning two of those wins this season.

Porcello recorded his first career win at Target Field on May 10 as he yielded one run and three hits over five innings in a 10-2 victory. He allowed eight hits over six innings during an 8-3 win over Oakland on Tuesday.

“I think (I’m) just using a better mix of off-speed stuff,” Porcello told the Tigers’ website. “I think that’s keeping guys off balance.”

The Twins’ Francisco Liriano(notes) (6-7, 4.56) hasn’t managed to do the same in his last five matchups with Detroit, going 0-4 with an 8.27 ERA. He gave up four runs over three innings while opposing Porcello on May 10 before exiting with an illness.

The left-hander, though, has allowed one earned run in each of his last two starts and is 2-0 in four outings this month. He gave up one run and four hits over six innings against Cleveland on Tuesday, working around four walks and a hit batsman in Minnesota’s 2-1 victory.

“I made some good pitches when I needed to,” Liriano told the Twins’ website. “I was trying to keep the ball down, and not overdo things.”

How Liriano fares against the red-hot Jhonny Peralta(notes) may determine if he can win on the day of former Twins star Bert Blyleven’s induction into the Hall of Fame.

Peralta is 13 for 25 over his last seven games and is 8 for 13 with two homers and seven RBIs during this series. The All-Star shortstop is hitting .438 (35 for 80) with seven homers and 23 RBIs over his last 21 games against the Twins.

Peralta is 8 for 26 (.308) with two homers against Liriano, while Jason Kubel(notes) is 11 for 22 versus Porcello - the most hits the right-hander has allowed to one player.

The Twins’ Joe Nathan(notes) needs one more save to tie Rick Aguilera for first on the team’s all-time list with 254.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Porcello Bos vs. F. Liriano Pit
14-9 Record 9-10
4.75 ERA 5.09
104 K 112
46 BB 75
1.41 WHIP 1.49


Sunday, Jul 24