Nate Cornejo looks to help the major league-worst Tigers avert yet another home sweep to the Twins as the AL Central rivals complete a three-game set at Comerica Park.
On Saturday, the Tigers suffered an 8-4, 10-inning loss to the Twins for their fifth setback in six games overall. Detroit has lost 19 of its last 20 meetings with Minnesota, including 10 in a row at home.
The Twins have swept three straight series at Comerica Park dating to April 2002, when they suffered a three-game sweep in Detroit.
Jacque Jones broke a 10th-inning tie with a two-run double Saturday as the Twins pulled within 2 1/2 games of division-leading Kansas City. Detroit, which is on pace to break the 1962 New York Mets’ mark (120 losses) for all-time major league futility, is 30 1/2 games back in the Central.
“I’m very disappointed—this is not a good night for me,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. “We had a chance to win this game, and we shot ourselves in the foot. In key situations down the stretch, we just didn’t do the job.”
Trammell will send Cornejo to the mound to try to cool off the surging Twins, who have won five of their last seven to move two games above .500 for the first time since July 2.
On Tuesday, Cornejo gave up six earned runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-2 loss to Oakland. The 23-year-old right-hander, who has lost two straight starts and three of his last four decisions, has struggled since the All-Star break, posting a dismal 7.36 ERA in the second half.
On Friday, pitching coach Bob Cluck held a simulated game for Cornejo and rookie Wilfredo Ledezma, who has a 9.50 ERA since the break.
“I’m hoping it got their attention,” Trammell said. “It’s August, and it’s probably not what you normally do, but we’re not stopping. We want to try to help and get their attention to work on something in close to game action.”
STANDINGS: Twins - 3rd place, 2 1/2 GB, AL Central. Tigers - 5th place, 30 1/2 GB, AL Central.
TWINS PROBABLE STARTER: Kenny Rogers (8-6, 5.03 ERA). Rogers gave up three runs—one earned—and nine hits in seven innings of Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. It was his third loss in four decisions. Rogers is 8-7 with a 4.20 ERA in 44 career appearances, including 21 starts, against the Tigers. In his only start against Detroit this season, he gave up seven hits in eight innings of a 6-0 win on April 17.
TIGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Cornejo (5-10, 4.88 ERA). In three career starts against the Twins, Cornejo is 2-1 with a 5.31 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Twins - Jones, .309 avg.; Torii Hunter, 21 HRs and 76 RBIs; Shannon Stewart, 64 runs; Cristian Guzman, 13 SBs. Tigers - Dmitri Young, .285 avg., 22 HRs, 60 RBIs and 55 runs; Alex Sanchez, 26 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Twins, 10-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Twins - RHP Mike Fetters, who went on the disabled list May 1 with a re-aggravated left hamstring, underwent successful “Tommy John” surgery Friday to replace the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. … LHP Rogers is 3-4 with a 5.16 ERA in 10 road starts this season. … OF Jones underwent an MRI Saturday that revealed a grade two strained groin, an injury that could take four-to-six months to heal completely. He will be Minnesota’s designated hitter as he continues to seek treatment. Tigers - Detroit turned two double plays Saturday, giving them 132 for the season, the most in the AL. … Detroit is 1-9 in extra-inning games this year. … OF-1B Young spent his fourth consecutive game at DH Saturday, giving his strained Achilles tendons a mild rest. He will likely remain in that role for the next few games.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Twins - 27-30 on the road; Tigers - 14-41 at home.
INJURIES: Twins - OF Lew Ford (arm), 15-day DL; RHP Fetters (hamstring), 60-day DL; LHP Eric Milton (elbow), 60-day DL. Tigers - C A.J. Hinch (groin), 15-day DL; 3B Dean Palmer (shoulder, back), 60-day DL.
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