American League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, July 3rd (All times Eastern)
Minnesota Twins (34-45) at Detroit Tigers (39-41), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Minnesota - Nick Blackburn (4-5, 7.74) Detroit - Duane Below (2-1, 2.70)
(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Twins may be last in the AL Central, but they haven't played like a cellar dweller recently. The Twins will try to extend their current winning streak to a season high five games tonight when they resume a four-game set tonight against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
The Twins kicked off a seven-game road trip with Monday's 6-4 win over the Tigers in the opener of this set. Trevor Plouffe drove in two runs during a four-run fourth inning, Ryan Doumit had three hits and an RBI and Ben Revere ended 2-for-4 with two runs scored for Minnesota.
Liam Hendriks was aiming for his first major league win and recorded a no- decision for the Twins after he surrendered four runs and six hits in four innings. Anthony Swarzak tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for the win and Glen Perkins notched his third save in the ninth.
Twins skipper Rod Gardenhire earned his 900th career managerial win in the process. Gardenhire ranks second on the franchise's all-time managerial wins list behind Tom Kelly (1,140 wins)
"This is 900 wins for an organization, and I just happened to be the manager," said a humble Gardenhire. "I'm proud of this organization and proud to be a part of that."
Nick Blackburn draws the start for Gardenhire's club tonight and he is 4-5 with a lofty 7.74 earned run average in 12 starts. He was 4-0 in his previous six starts until a 12-5 setback versus the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday. Blackburn was rattled for six runs and nine hits through five innings.
The right-hander faced Detroit in an 11-7 win on May 16 at Comerica Park and did not factor in the outcome, as he lasted just two innings and allowed six runs and six hits. Blackburn was bothered by a left thigh issue and didn't make another start until June 6. He is 4-6 with a 5.91 ERA in 14 career games (12 starts) against the Tigers, and opposing batters are hitting .328 against him this season.
Detroit opened a seven-game homestand last night and had won two straight and three of four games. Doug Fister couldn't keep the winning ways intact and was reached for six runs and eight hits in four innings for the loss.
"They did find some holes and capitalized on some of my mistakes," Fister said. "I left the ball up a little bit."
Miguel Cabrera went 3-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and three RBI for the Tigers, who were coming off a 5-5 road trip and will also host Kansas City on the homestand.
The Tigers announced that right-handed pitcher Max Scherzer will miss Tuesday's start with a hamstring injury and Duane Below is set to make his debut as a starter in 2012.
"He was jogging on the turf in Tampa and just felt it," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Scherzer on the club's site. "It's one of those where we can't afford to take a chance with it. We've spoken to him today, he had thrown today, but when he tried to really let go a little bit, he could feel it. So we just automatically scratched him. Not taking any chances."
Also, slugging first baseman Prince Fielder will participate in the Home Run Derby during All-Star festivities. He won the event in 2009 as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Below, meanwhile, is 2-1 with a 2.70 earned run average in 21 relief appearances this season and has made just two starts in 35 career games. The left-hander is 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA in four career relief appearances against Minnesota, spanning 6 1/3 innings.
Detroit and Minnesota have split six meetings this season, while the Tigers swept a three-game set in the Twin Cities back in late May.
07/03 10:37:57 ET