Every Tigers starter had a hit in Friday's game and the team ended with 15 total hits in the 10-6 victory. The win stretched Detroit's lead in the American League Central division to two games and gave Rick Porcello his third victory on the young season.
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Anibal Sanchez, unlike Porcello, is still searching for his first win of 2014. The 30-year-old right-hander has been the victim of low offensive outputs during his starts, giving up just eight runs in four appearances but owning an 0-2 record.
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The Twins hope to slow down the Tigers' bats with offseason acquisition Phil Hughes, who has struggled to the tune of a 6.43 ERA through four starts this season. Hughes allowed four earned runs in each of his first three starts, but won his last outing against Kansas City by holding the Royals to three runs in six innings.
Hughes is no stranger to this Tigers lineup, which features a few players with dazzling numbers against the young righty. First baseman Miguel Cabrera is 14 for 25 (.560) lifetime against Hughes with five home runs and 11 RBI. Torii Hunter hits .429 in his career against Hughes, and Victor Martinez hits .368. Hughes will have to improve his performance against the middle of the Detroit order to give the Twins a chance in the second game of the series.
For the visiting Tigers, it's the relief pitching that needs to make an adjustment. The highly-scrutinized Detroit bullpen stumbled again Friday night as Justin Miller allowed three runs, including two inherited runners from Porcello, to score in the sixth inning. Ian Krol relieved Miller, but was charged with a run in the seventh. Evan Reed struggled in his 2/3 of an inning, allowing two hits and a walk.
The continued struggles of the bullpen put added pressure on Sanchez and the offense to build an early lead. The Tigers must solidify the relief pitching in order to pull away from the crowded AL Central.
The final meeting in this three-game series will come on Sunday at 2:10 p.m.
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