Tigers-Twins Preview


The Detroit Tigers' attempt to move a step closer to an AL Central title was undone in their series opener with the Minnesota Twins.

Doug Fister will try to help the Tigers wrap up that third straight division crown by delivering another solid outing against the Twins on Tuesday night.

Detroit (91-66) had a 3-2 lead heading into the ninth inning Monday at Target Field, but Brian Dozier hit a tying solo homer off Joaquin Benoit, who blew his first save in 23 chances this year. Dozier eventually scored the winning run on Josmil Pinto's single in the 11th, and that 4-3 loss kept the Tigers' magic number at two.

"Obviously, it's tough," pitcher Justin Verlander said. "We're sitting here knocking on the door and every win counts. It was a tough pill to swallow, but that's the lovely thing about baseball. We come out here tomorrow and we have another day and another crack at a win."

Fister (13-9, 3.71 ERA) will try to help his club bounce back and avoid a third straight loss Tuesday. The Tigers need a victory and a Cleveland loss to the Chicago White Sox to win the AL Central.

The right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.42 ERA in his last four starts against Minnesota (66-90), and he gave up two runs and two hits over 7 2-3 innings in his latest matchup, a 5-2 win at Target Field on June 16

Fister, though, has been inconsistent lately - giving up four runs or more in three of his last five outings. He allowed four runs and nine hits over 7 2-3 innings Thursday against Seattle, but Detroit gave him the win by rallying for a 5-4 victory.

"That's what a team does is trust one another," Fister told the team's website after striking out 10. "I think that's what kind of sets us apart right now. We're trusting one another. We're playing well together."

The Tigers will try for another complete effort against Scott Diamond (6-11, 5.54), who is 2-7 with a 6.32 ERA in his last 12 major league starts. The left-hander, though, earned his first win since June 20 on Wednesday in his second start since being recalled from a month-long stint at Triple-A Rochester.

Diamond gave up three runs over 6 1-3 innings in a 4-3 victory at the last-place Chicago White Sox.

"I think just going down to Rochester was kind of that reset for me," Diamond said. "I feel like I'm just building off of that a little bit."

Diamond is 1-1 with a 4.67 ERA in three matchups with Detroit this season after posting a 1.98 ERA in his previous four. He kept the Tigers scoreless in the first five innings of his most recent matchup June 14 before allowing four runs in his final frame of a 4-0 loss.

Miguel Cabrera is 3 for 7 with a home run and a double against Diamond this season and 10 for 21 (.476) lifetime. Cabrera went 2 for 4 and drove in a run Monday after sitting out Sunday's 6-3 loss to the White Sox with soreness in his groin.

Dozier is 5 for 9 with two doubles and a home run against Fister in his career. He'll try to help manager Ron Gardenhire earn career win No. 999.

Detroit's only other run of three straight regular-season titles came from 1907-09.