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Twins-Tigers Preview

AP - Sports

When Anibal Sanchez takes the mound Saturday against Minnesota, he'll be looking to cash in on all the run support his teammates failed to provide in the series opener.

As well as the run support lacking in Sanchez's recent starts.

And, while the Tigers are at it, his entire career against the Twins leading up to this weekend's three-game series in Detroit.

The Twins, meanwhile, are after a season-best four-game winning streak.

The Tigers (34-29), losers of nine of 12, fell 2-0 to the Twins on Friday while managing six hits, numbers Sanchez (2-2, 2.24 ERA) has grown used to in his turn in the rotation.

"We're still in first place, and we just have to turn things around," pitcher Drew Smyly said after suffering a tough-luck loss.

Detroit has scored three runs for Sanchez in three starts, two of which came in Sunday's 5-3 loss to Boston.

He surrendered two runs and six hits while striking out seven in six innings and didn't factor into the decision. After receiving a 7.20 run-support average in his first seven starts, he's seen a 1.27 mark in his last three.

Forgive him if he's not entirely convinced it'll change this weekend. The Tigers have given Sanchez two runs or less in seven of his eight career starts against the Twins, leading to a 1-2 record for the right-hander, despite a 2.42 ERA.

Josh Willingham is 2 for 16 against Sanchez, Brian Dozier is 1 for 13 and Oswaldo Arcia is 0 for 7.

They weren't much better than that in the series opener, but four hits wound up being enough with Eduardo Escobar hitting a solo homer in the third and drawing a bases-loaded walk in the ninth.

Kendrys Morales went 1 for 4 and is 7 for 17 with at least a hit in each of his four games since joining the Twins.

"These guys are a great baseball team and everybody knows it," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We have to come in here and win some of these games."

Minnesota (32-33), winner of three straight overall and four of six against Detroit this season, can now get back to .500 for the first time since being 23-23 on May 24 while also climbing within two games of the Tigers for the division lead.

That might require some improvement out of Samuel Deduno.

Deduno (2-4, 4.45 ERA) is coming off his shortest starting assignment of the season after allowing five runs in three-plus innings of Sunday's 14-5 loss to Houston. The right-hander only allowed three hits but walked four for the second straight game.

"Today was bad," Deduno told the team's official website. "I didn't have any control of my release. I couldn't throw my curveball for a strike. Or my fastball. Or my changeup. Anything."

In five career starts against the Tigers, Deduno is 2-2 with a 6.83 ERA. He allowed three runs and six hits in six innings of a 4-3 win on May 11, but didn't earn the decision.

Austin Jackson is 5 for 12 with a home run against him while Alex Avila is 1 for 11 with five strikeouts and Victor Martinez is 1 for 9.

The Twins have put outfielder Aaron Hicks on the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain. The team reinstated outfielder Sam Fuld from his rehab assignment and recalled catcher Eric Fryer on Friday.

Dozier missed Friday's game after leaving Wednesday's contest with lower-back pain, but the Minnesota second baseman was hoping to be ready Saturday.

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