In the span of one week, the Detroit Tigers have gone from looking like also-rans to world-beaters.
The Tigers played like the team that many have predicted to win the American League Central, beating up on the Atlanta Braves in a three-game sweep.
The Tigers outscored Atlanta 25-7 just a week after they were swept by the Los Angeles Angels and will go for a fourth straight win when they host the Minnesota Twins on Monday in the opener on a three-game series.
Minnesota is also on a bit of a run, taking the final two games against the Texas Rangers to earn a split of the four-game set. The Twins have won seven of their last 10 to climb above .500 at 11-10, a dramatic difference from a year ago when they started the season 10-26. Minnesota opened the season by winning two of three at home from the Tigers.
It is the opener of a 10-game road trip for the Twins that will include stops in Cleveland and Boston.
TV: 7:08 p.m. ET, Fox Sports North (Minnesota), Fox Sports Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Mike Pelfrey (2-2, 7.94 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Max Scherzer (2-0, 4.13)
Pelfrey has struggled while attempting to work his way back from Tommy John surgery less than a year ago. He was tagged for five runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings of an 8-5 loss to Miami last time out. Pelfrey had a solid season debut, giving up two runs in 5 1/3 innings vs. Detroit, but he has been roughed up for 15 runs and 24 hits in 11 2/3 innings over his last three starts. Red-hot Omar Infante has been a nemesis for Pelfrey with 15 hits in 30 at-bats.
Scherzer notched the victory in his last outing despite a shaky performance in which he was touched for five runs on seven hits in five innings. He had been overpowering in his previous two starts with a combined 23 strikeouts and two earned runs allowed in 14 innings. Scherzer has made nine career starts against the Twins, logging a 3-2 record and 5.40 ERA while serving up eight homers in 55 innings. Justin Morneau is 5-for-10 with three homers and Joe Mauer is 8-for-20 lifetime against Scherzer.
1. Tigers 3B Miguel Cabrera has a 12-game hitting streak and five-game RBI streak.
2. Mauer is in an 0-for-15 drought that dropped his batting average from .366 to .302.
3. Detroit's pitchers recorded 39 strikeouts in the three games against Atlanta.