Tigers-Twins Preview

After a frustrating road trip that included three one-run

losses, the Minnesota Twins open a nine-game homestand hoping to

increase their AL Central lead.

Owners of the AL’s second-best home record, the Twins begin a

three-game set against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday night.

Minnesota (75-56) resumes play following a 3-4 swing. That began

with three losses to AL West-leading Texas prior to winning the

finale Thursday, then the Twins took the first two games from

last-place Seattle before a 2-1 loss Sunday.

Minnesota led 1-0 in the seventh before the Mariners came back

in the bottom of the frame thanks to a wild pitch, misplayed fly

ball and fielder’s choice that should have been an inning-ending

double play.

“This is the end of 13 days in a row (of playing) with a lot of

travel, late-night travel,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I think

guys are worn down right now.”

The loss came with a chance for Minnesota to increase its lead

over second-place Chicago in the AL Central.

A lengthy homestand, however, provides the Twins with a good

opportunity to pull away from the White Sox before they meet for

the final time Sept. 14-16 in Chicago. At 40-22, Minnesota trails

only the New York Yankees for the AL’s best home record, and has

posted five shutouts while winning 11 of the last 13 at Target

Field.

The Twins are 5-1 at home against the Tigers this year, and will

turn to Brian Duensing (7-2, 2.19 ERA) in the opener.

Duensing suffered his first loss as a starter after giving up

four runs in six innings of a 4-3 defeat at Texas on Wednesday. The

left-hander had been 4-0 with a 2.18 ERA in six starts since

joining the rotation in July.

Duensing, who is 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA in two home starts, has

faced the Tigers (65-66) five times as a reliever this season,

pitching 4 1-3 scoreless innings. He was 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA in two

starts against them as a rookie last year.

Detroit comes in having won seven of 10 including a 10-4 victory

over Toronto on Sunday to split the four-game set. The Tigers have

hit .311 while outscoring their opponents 66-24 over the last 10

games.

Ryan Raburn homered twice and drove in four Sunday. After

entering August batting .211, Raburn has boosted his average 43

points while hitting .394 (13 for 33) with 10 RBIs over the last

nine games.

“That’s how it goes sometimes,” he said. “I’m a real streaky guy

anyway. Once I get in a hot span, it seems to click for several

weeks.”

However, Raburn has hit .143 (3 for 21) against the Twins this

season, and is 2 for 12 in four games in Minneapolis.

Armando Galarraga (4-5, 4.04) has pitched well lately as he

tries again for his first win in Minnesota. The right-hander is 0-4

with a 7.16 ERA in five starts including June 29, when he allowed

six runs in four innings of an 11-4 defeat.

However, he’s 1-0 with a 0.68 ERA in his last two starts

overall. Galarraga gave up a run over 6 1-3 innings of Wednesday’s

4-3 loss in 12 to Kansas City.

Joe Mauer, who is hitting .327 this year, is 9 for 20 with two

homers against Galarraga. However, the Twins catcher is batting

.154 (4 for 26) against the Tigers this year.