It's no surprise teams have tried to avoid pitching to Miguel Cabrera, especially given the reigning AL MVP and Triple Crown winner's current hot streak.
Prince Fielder, though, is making them pay.
Cabrera homered in his career best-tying fourth straight game and went 2 for 3 with two walks and three RBIs in Thursday's 7-6, come-from-behind victory over Minnesota in Thursday's series opener.
He's raised his season average to an astounding .391, and is batting .486 during a nine-game hitting streak. The slugger is 9 for 15 with six homers and 13 RBIs over his last four contests.
Cabrera also has been walked five times in the last four games. Fielder has followed each of those walks with run-scoring hits, including what turned out to be the game-winning RBI single Thursday.
After Cabrera walks, Fielder hit a three-run double Sunday versus Texas, an RBI single Tuesday and an RBI double Wednesday versus Cleveland before a pair of RBI singles on Thursday.
''It's absolutely incredible what they are doing,'' Tigers starter Rick Porcello said. ''If I were pitching against them, I'd just walk both of them every time they came up.''
Fielder is riding a five-game hitting streak for the Tigers (26-19).
''You hate walking anyone to pitch to Prince Fielder, I can tell you that right now,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''But you've got to take your choice, and the way Cabrera is swinging the bat, you've got to do it.''
Minnesota's failure to hold its lead resulted in a ninth consecutive loss despite Josh Willingham hitting a three-run homer in the third and a solo shot in the seventh
The Twins (18-26) will look to end their skid with help from Samuel Deduno, who will be making his first start of the season.
Deduno went 6-5 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts for Minnesota in 2012, but he's pitched exclusively in the minors after suffering a groin injury in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic while pitching for the Dominican Republic.
The right-hander had no record with a 2.70 ERA in three starts for Triple-A Rochester.
"You're going to get a guy who puts some fear in people's hearts," Gardenhire told the team's official website. "I don't think he's afraid of going against those big boys in Detroit."
Deduno's last trip to Comerica Park didn't go so well, though, as he allowed seven runs in just 2 1-3 innings of an 8-0 defeat Sept. 22.
The Tigers will turn to Anibal Sanchez, who is coming off his worst outing of the season after giving up six runs in 2 2-3 innings of a 7-2 loss to Texas on Saturday.
Sanchez (4-4, 2.77 ERA) struck out a season-low two hitters after finishing with at least eight in six of his last seven outings.
''Sometimes you just don't have it and you're trying to do the best you could,'' catcher Alex Avila said. "I'm pretty confident he'll have a pretty good start his next time around.''
The right-hander has faced Minnesota twice this season, allowing two hits in five scoreless innings of Detroit's 3-2 loss April 3 and giving up three runs while striking out nine in six frames of a 6-2 defeat May 1.
Sanchez is 0-2 with a 3.57 ERA in four career starts versus the Twins.
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- Prince Fielder
- Minnesota Twins
- Miguel Cabrera