The Minnesota Twins hope they can make it two victories in a row as they take on the Detroit Tigers in the rubber match of the three-game set at Target Field
After Detroit coasted to a 4-0 victory in the series opener on Friday, Trevor Plouffe returned from the disabled list to go 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBI and help the Minnesota beat the Tigers, 6-3, on Saturday.
Joe Mauer drove in two runs and Brian Dozier had an RBI as well for the Twins, who received a solid outing from Samuel Deduno. The victory improved Minnesota to an even 16-16 at home while dropping Detroit to 15-19 in road games.
Minnesota struggled offensively on Friday, but it found its groove in the second game of the series as it registered 14 hits to go along with four walks. The Twins had not scored more than five runs in a game since June 2 before Plouffe provided the surge on Saturday.
"It's just good to be back," Plouffe said. "The first thing was winning -- we wanted to win this game and I wanted to contribute any way I could. To be able to come up offensively was good for us, and Sammy pitched his butt off again. So when you mix those things together, it's a good night."
P.J. Walters will take the hill for the hosts in this one. The right-hander surrendered only one earned run on six hits over 7 1/3 innings against Philadelphia in his last outing but was not rewarded with a winning decision. Walters has just a 0.68 ERA in 13 1/3 innings so far this month.
Detroit will counter with Doug Fister, who has failed to record a win in his last five starts. The Tigers have scored only four runs combined in his last four during which time he has given up nine earned runs on 28 hits over 30 1/3 innings.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland took out his starter Anibal Sanchez after 3 2/3 innings on Saturday as a precautionary measure after Sanchez missed his previous start due to a stiff shoulder. The Tigers, who lead the MLB in batting average and on-base percentage, did not have their best offensive showing of the year in the second game of the series.
"We actually swung the bats pretty good, I thought, we just didn't score enough runs," Leyland said. "We kind of let it get away a little bit."
Miguel Cabrera scored two of the team's three runs while Prince Fielder went 2-for-4 at the plate. Cabrera had gone hitless in his previous two games but still leads the MLB with a .354 batting average.
Fielder's hot streak is likely to continue on Sunday. The hard-hitting first baseman has dominated Walters in the past, going 5-for-11 with two homers against the Twins' starter in his career.
Detroit is 7-5 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 6 1/2 games behind the visitors heading into the series finale.