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Tigers send Porcello to hill in opener with Twins

Rick Porcello tries to string back-to-back wins together for the first time this season on Friday when the Detroit Tigers open a three- game series with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

After a rough start to the season Porcello has started to put it together, surrendering three runs or less in seven of his last eight starts. Porcello evened his record at 3-3 on Saturday against Cleveland, as he allowed two runs (1 earned) and three hits in six innings to lower his ERA to 4.86, the lowest its been this season.

"I think having some run support, there's definitely some comfort to it," Porcello said. "But at the same time, you're going out there trying to put up zeros on the board regardless."

Porcello's worst start in his recent stretch, though, came against Minnesota on May 23, as he was lit up for five runs in five innings, but escaped without a decision. For his career he is 6-5 versus the Twins with a 3.64 ERA in 17 starts.

Detroit comes into this series stumbling a bit after losing two of three to the Kansas City Royals. However, the Tigers still hold a 4 1/2-game lead atop the American League Central.

Minnesota, meanwhile, was denied a sweep in its three-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies after dropping a 3-2 decision on Thursday. Justin Morneau had a two-run double for the Twins, who have lost five of eight.

Minnesota starter Kevin Correia gave up one run on eight hits while striking out six over five innings. Jared Burton (0-4) allowed both runs in the eighth to take the loss.

"I don't think he was rusty, I just think it was bad luck," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.

Getting the call for Gardenhire's crew on Friday will be lefty Scott Diamond, who is 4-5 with a 5.19 ERA. Diamond lost for the third time in four decisions on Sunday in Washington, as the Nationals roughed him up for seven runs (6 earned) and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

"I'm really frustrated with the way it went and how it all played out in those last couple of innings for me," Diamond said. "Nothing to really hang my head about. Just come back and continue to stay aggressive."

Diamond has faced the Tigers seven times and is 2-2 against them with a 2.98 ERA.

Detroit is 6-4 against the Twins this season.