Tigers-Twins Preview

The Associated Press

Prince Fielder's struggles at the plate in Detroit's last series contributed to his team's disappointing sweep by the AL Central leaders, but he's making up for it this weekend.

Fielder and the Tigers will try to complete a three-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.

After scoring six total runs during three straight losses at Cleveland earlier this week, Detroit has bounced back by plating 16 runs in winning the first two games of this series.

Fielder, who was 1 for 12 in the series against the Indians, went 4 for 4 - all singles - in Saturday's 6-3 victory. He had three hits and a pair of RBIs in Friday's 10-6 win.

Detroit (22-24) has back-to-back wins for the first time since a four-game winning streak April 15-18. Andy Dirks and Miguel Cabrera each drove in two runs and Max Scherzer struck out nine over 5 1-3 innings before a rain delay ended his afternoon.

"Hopefully we're relaxing a little bit and doing what we can do pretty good," manager Jim Leyland said. "We're supposed to hit pretty good and we can hit pretty good. I'm not going to get carried away with two games, but it's a pretty good sign."

While they've been inconsistent this season, the Tigers continue to play well in Minnesota, winning nine of 11. They've scored six or more runs in eight of those games.

The AL-worst Twins (15-31) dropped to 6-16 at home with Saturday's defeat and have lost four straight overall after winning five of six.

Minnesota's struggling rotation has been the biggest problem, with its starters going 1-5 with an 8.19 ERA over the last six games. After Anthony Swarzak failed to make it out of the fourth Friday, Carl Pavano went 4 1-3 innings Saturday.

One starter that has pitched well for the Twins is P.J. Walters (2-1, 2.95 ERA).

Walters has made three starts since taking over for the injured Nick Blackburn. He recorded his first career complete game Tuesday, limiting the Chicago White Sox to two runs and five hits with eight strikeouts in a 9-2 win.

"Our offense got some runs for us, but the story is Walters," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He changed speeds, was able to spin the ball over, use some changeups, get some sinkers. We gave him a nice lead, and he did what a pitcher's supposed to do.''

Walters' previous start was against the Tigers on May 17. In 6 1-3 innings, he gave up three solo homers - including one to Fielder - but held on for a 4-3 victory.

Rick Porcello (3-4, 5.29) takes the mound for Detroit looking to win for the first time in four starts.

The right-hander failed to complete six innings for the third straight outing Tuesday at Cleveland. He allowed five runs - four earned - and eight hits before he was replaced with one out in the sixth in a 5-3 loss.

Porcello wasn't sharp against the Twins on May 16, yielding six runs - two earned - and six hits in four innings but escaped without a decision in an 11-7 loss. He is 6-4 with a 2.95 ERA in 13 starts against Minnesota.

Justin Morneau hasn't had much success against Porcello, going 3 for 18 with one homer, but he did go deep for the fourth time in five games Saturday.

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