After facing a pair of division leaders, the contending Detroit Tigers hoped to have an easier time facing the Minnesota Twins.
That wasn't the case in the series opener, but the Tigers have a chance to conclude their stay at Target Field on a positive note Wednesday with help from Max Scherzer.
After dropping its final two games against the New York Yankees last week, Detroit (62-55) lost two of three in Texas over the weekend. The Tigers then absorbed a 9-3 loss Monday in Minnesota (50-66), giving up 18 hits.
They had a better experience the next night despite blowing an early four-run lead, scoring four runs over the final four innings in an 8-4 victory.
Miguel Cabrera drove in two of those while became his team's first player to top 100 RBIs in five straight seasons since Hall of Famer Charlie Gehringer from 1932-36.
"He'll have five more with 100 unless he gets hurt," manager Jim Leyland said. "He can hit the ball 450 feet to 500 feet, and he can hit it over the first baseman's head or down the left-field line. Just a great hitter."
The win kept the Tigers two games behind Chicago in the AL Central, and they'll try to cut into that deficit with help from Scherzer (11-6, 4.65 ERA), who is coming off his first victory since July 25.
The right-hander gave up two runs over six innings in Texas on Friday after allowing a combined nine over his previous two outings.
"They were one or two hits away from probably knocking Scherzer out early,'' Leyland said. "He kind of gathered himself and pitched very well."
Scherzer might have a good shot at another win - he's 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA in his last three starts against Minnesota. He yielded three runs and struck out nine over 5 1-3 innings during a 6-3 victory at Target Field on May 26.
In this start, he'll pitch opposite Cole De Vries (2-3, 4.77), who is coming off the worst performance of his brief career. The rookie right-hander was tagged for eight runs over 1 1-3 innings of a 12-6 loss to Tampa Bay on Friday.
De Vries had gone at least five innings in each of his first 10 starts.
"This is a flat-out forget one," he told the team's website. "I don't really see anything productive that I can take out of this one, outside of working on forgetting about things."
While De Vries will seek to get back on track during his first start against the Tigers, Scherzer will try to record eight or more strikeouts for a sixth consecutive game.
The right-hander hasn't fanned Justin Morneau in nine career matchups, and the Twins' first baseman is 4 for 7 with three homers and two walks lifetime against Scherzer.
Cabrera hit a two-run homer in his only at-bat against De Vries on July 4. The right-hander pitched the final two innings of a 5-1 loss at Comerica Park.