Detroit (71-59) at Minnesota (55-75)

Fair Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 79° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Fri Aug 26, 2011
  • TV: FSD, FSNO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Detroit Tigers have been almost unbeatable since losing two of three at home to the Minnesota Twins last week.

They’ve been just as dominant at Target Field this season.

The AL Central-leading Tigers look to continue their success in Minnesota by handing the Twins a sixth consecutive loss Friday night.

Detroit (71-59) is 9-3 versus Minnesota this season, but two of those defeats came at home August 15-17. The Tigers, 6-1 overall since that series, have outscored the Twins 39-19 while winning five of their six games at Target Field in 2011.

Minnesota (55-75) has lost 19 of 24 overall and 15 of 18 at home.

The Tigers won for the sixth time in eight road games and extended their division lead to 6 1/2 games over Cleveland with a 2-0 victory at Tampa Bay on Thursday.

“Every time we win a series, it’s a step forward,” reliever Joaquin Benoit(notes) told the Tigers’ official website. “As long as we keep winning series, I think we’re going to be good.”

Detroit scored just 11 runs in the series, but allowed six while taking three of four from the Rays.

“To come out of here with three wins, very pleased,” manager Jim Leyland said.

After Doug Fister(notes) pitched seven solid innings Thursday, the Tigers hope Rick Porcello(notes) (11-8, 5.17 ERA) can get back on track after going 0-2 with an 11.48 ERA in his last three starts.

That rough stretch included a 9-6 loss to the Twins on Aug. 15, when he gave up six runs - four earned - in six innings. Prior to that start, Porcello was 3-0 with a 2.55 ERA versus Minnesota this season, with two wins at Target Field.

The right-hander yielded five runs in 3 2-3 innings of an 8-7 win over Cleveland on Sunday.

Detroit is expected to have slugger Miguel Cabrera(notes) back after he was placed on the paternity list Thursday. Cabrera has hit .357 (15 for 42) with two homers, 12 RBIs and 13 walks against the Twins this season.

All-Star catcher Alex Avila(notes) has batted .418 with six home runs and 16 RBIs in his last 20 games, but is 3 for 18 with three singles at Target Field in 2011.

The Tigers won’t face Jim Thome(notes), who accepted a waiver trade to Cleveland on Thursday. Jason Kubel(notes) and Joe Mauer(notes) also could be out of the Minnesota lineup, with Kubel waiting to hear his waiver fate and Mauer dealing with a stiff neck that forced him to miss Thursday’s 6-1 loss to Baltimore.

Bothered by various injuries, Mauer has played just 70 games and is hitting .287 with one home run and 25 RBIs in the first season of an eight-year, $184 million extension. He’s 6 for 28 (.214) with no RBIs versus Detroit in 2011.

“It’s frustrating, definitely,” Mauer said. “It’s been like this all year. It’s been a grind.”

Michael Cuddyer(notes) expects to play despite being hit on the wrist with a pitch Wednesday. He went 1 for 4 and Justin Morneau(notes) had an RBI on Thursday for the Twins, who were outscored 24-4 while being swept in the four-game set with the Orioles.

Left-hander Scott Diamond(notes) (0-1, 4.26) will be recalled to start this contest in place of Anthony Swarzak(notes), who was pressed into service after Francisco Liriano(notes) left with an injury Thursday.

Diamond will make his second appearance after he allowed four runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-3 loss to Cleveland in his major league debut July 18.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Porcello Bos vs. S. Diamond Cin
14-9 Record 1-5
4.75 ERA 5.08
104 K 19
46 BB 17
1.41 WHIP 1.74

Scoreboard

Friday, Aug 26