(SportsNetwork.com) - Kyle Gibson looks to extend his scoreless innings streak on Tuesday night when the Minnesota Twins step into Comerica Park to begin a three-game set against the American League Central Division rival Detroit Tigers.
Gibson has picked up consecutive wins and gone 17 consecutive innings without yielding a run. In his most recent start, the right-hander held Oakland to four hits over six shutout innings, as he pitched out of a few jams to improve to 3-2.
Despite his recent success, Gibson owns by far the lowest strikeout rate in the Majors (.071) and has walked more batters (15) than he has struck out (11).
The Twins had won four straight and nine of their previous 10 games before falling to Cleveland by an 8-2 margin in Sunday's series finale. Minnesota was out-hit, 13-2, in that game, with Brian Dozier's leadoff home run accounting for half of the team's hit total.
Indians starter Danny Salazar settled down after that leadoff shot and retired the next 21 Twins batters he faced. Trevor May fell to 2-3 for Minnesota, as he lasted just four innings and was charged with six runs on nine hits.
"I think the more frustrated you get sometimes, it just increases how much you try," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "And sometimes that doesn't work when you're going against a guy who's really in a groove. The velocity seemed to pick up. (Salazar) was throwing harder at the end than he was in the beginning.
"His changeup was disappearing, especially on the left-handed hitters. He was tough, no doubt about that."
Molitor is expected to have third baseman Trevor Plouffe back in the lineup after a two-game absence due to family reasons.
Like the Twins, Detroit also had the day off Monday. The Tigers are looking to rebound from back-to-back home losses to the Kansas City Royals over the weekend.
The Tigers fell in extra innings, 2-1, in Sunday's rubber match, which was delayed one hour and 43 minutes because of rain. With the score tied, 1-1, the Tigers loaded the bases in the ninth inning and again in the 10th but could not cash in. Then, reliever Angel Nesbitt began the bottom of the 10th with a hit batter on his first pitch, followed by a wild pitch that put the runner in scoring position that wound up advancing to third on a groundout and then scoring on a sac fly to end it.
"We lost the game," Ian Kinsler said. "Sometimes we beat ourselves. Sometimes in baseball there are situations that you can take advantage of that you don't. It's not always the other team outperforming you. Sometimes you don't perform. That's the way this game goes sometimes. We probably should've scored some more runs."
Toeing the rubber for the Tigers on Tuesday night is Alfredo Simon. The right- hander won his first four starts as a Tiger but has struggled over his last two, allowing nine runs on 14 hits over 9 1/3 innings against the Royals and White Sox.
This will be Simon's first start against the Twins this season, and he'll have backup catcher James McCann as his battery mate once again. Starter Alex Avila was recently lost to the disabled list, but McCann has caught four of Simon's six starts as the two have built a rapport.
This is the third series of the season between these two teams, and the Tigers have won five of six head-to-head games so far.