Twins-Tigers Preview

Rick Porcello might be the last pitcher the Minnesota Twins want
to face as they try to end their lengthy skid against the Detroit
Tigers.

Porcello looks to continue his home success against the Twins
and help the Tigers defeat earn their ninth consecutive victory in
this AL Central rivalry Wednesday night at Comerica Park.

Detroit (28-26) moved into position for the series sweep after
it overcame a three-run deficit and another deficit of one run
Tuesday to beat Minnesota 8-7. Brennan Boesch broke an
eighth-inning tie with a sacrifice fly to help the Tigers win their
third straight overall.

The Tigers have averaged 8.6 runs during their eight-game
winning streak over the Twins (17-36), who have dropped three
straight and nine of 11 overall.

“Another night where we battled really hard and come up a little
short,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Things likely will not get any easier for Minnesota against
Porcello (4-3, 3.93 ERA), who has allowed two runs and 15 hits in
21 1-3 innings while going 2-0 in three career home starts versus
the Twins.

The right-hander faced the Twins at Target Field on May 10, and
gave up only a solo homer and two other hits in five innings of a
10-2 victory.

Porcello had been 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his six previous starts
overall, before allowing a season-high six runs in three innings of
a 6-3 loss to Boston on Friday.

“I was fighting it,” he said. “I was just trying to find a
rhythm and a release point.”

Jason Kubel is 11 for 22 with three doubles and a home run off
Porcello, but the Twins slugger could miss his second straight game
with a sprained foot.

Justin Morneau hit a pair of homers Tuesday, including a two-run
shot in the seventh to give Minnesota a 7-6 lead. The Twins first
baseman is batting .355 with seven RBIs in his last seven games. He
is 2 for 8 with a double and home run versus Porcello.

Scott Baker (2-3, 3.65) seeks a second straight strong outing
when he takes the mound for the Twins in this contest.

Baker is 0-1 with a 4.84 ERA in four starts since winning at
Boston on May 6, but allowed six hits in seven scoreless innings
Friday before Minnesota’s bullpen blew a five-run lead in a 6-5
loss to the Angels.

“We say the same thing: ‘You win as a team. You lose as a
team,'” Baker said. “I think as an individual you go out there and
do the best you can and you try to provide your team a chance to
win.”

The right-hander is 6-4 with a 4.84 ERA in 21 starts against the
Tigers, but allowed five runs and five walks in 4 1-3 innings and
did not factor in the decision of a 9-7 loss to Detroit on May
11.

Boesch, who has five RBIs in his last four games, is 3 for 9
with two doubles against Baker.