The Minnesota Twins have a tough task on hand as they face Anibal Sanchez and the Detroit Tigers in the second of a three-game series at Target Field.
Rick Porcello tossed seven strong innings and Prince Fielder hit a two-run double to help the Tigers coast to a 4-0 win over Minnesota in the opener on Friday.
Fielder has done a nice job of making contact recently. His batting average has climbed to .289 as he has gone 9-for-21 with six RBI over his past six games. Detroit currently leads the majors in batting average at .279.
Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera has reached base on balls five times over the past three games, but he has failed to register a hit over his past two. Cabrera has only had a single multi-hit game this month after finishing May with 13.
The Twins were held to three hits in the loss as Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau combined to go 0-for-7. The loss was the second in a row for Minnesota, which has not scored more than five runs in a game since June 2. The hosts were unable to get the job done despite a strong showing from Scott Diamond, who gave up four runs on five hits and a pair of walks over 5 2/3 innings.
"It was a tough night," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We didn't do much offensively. Porcello was tough. His ball was diving all over the place and he had a nice breaking ball with his fastball coming back over the plate. Diamond matched him for a long time there, but then walked a guy in the sixth and got us in that awful situation where he had to walk a guy and didn't work out too well with three doubles in a row."
Gardenhire will hand the ball to Samuel Deduno for Saturday's action. Deduno won two starts in a row before being pinch hit for in a crucial situation versus Washington after five innings of work during which he allowed just two earned runs. Deduno is 2-1 with a 3.47 ERA in four starts this season.
Detroit will counter with Sanchez, who skipped his last scheduled start on Sunday due to stiffness in his upper back.
"I'm not worried. I just need to take care of it," Sanchez said regarding the missed start. "It's early. We're in June right now, so we have a lot more starts to go. We're working with our body, and when something happens, we need to take care of it."
Sanchez is 1-1 with a 1.37 ERA against the Twins over his last four starts.
Detroit is 7-4 against the Twins this season and currently hold a 4 1/2-game lead over Cleveland for first place in the AL Central. Minnesota is 7 1/2 games behind the visitors heading into Saturday.