The Detroit Tigers look to strengthen their standing atop the American League Central on Tuesday when they open a three-game set against the reeling Minnesota Twins.
The Tigers seized three of five contests versus Kansas City to boost their comfortable lead over Cleveland in the division. Defending Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera's 40th homer of the season on Sunday was also his 361st career blast, tying him with Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio for 77th on the all-time list.
While Detroit owns a 20-9 mark since the All-Star break, Minnesota is careening in the other direction. The Twins dropped their fourth straight and sixth of seven outings with a 6-1 setback to the New York Mets in a rescheduled game on Monday. Minnesota continues to struggle with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-10 on Monday and 6-for-49 during its four-game losing skid.
TV: 7:08 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), FSN (Detroit)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Mike Pelfrey (4-10, 5.26 ERA) vs. Tigers RH Rick Porcello (9-6, 4.33)
Pelfrey's winless stretch extended to seven games after yielding three runs in 6 1/3 innings of a no-decision versus the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. The 29-year-old fell to 1-3 against Detroit after permitting five runs on as many hits in 5 2/3 innings in a 6-1 setback on May 26. Pelfrey has been battered on the road, posting a 2-6 mark with a 5.19 ERA while allowing the opposition to bat .284 against him.
Porcello won his fifth straight decision on Wednesday after allowing three runs on 11 hits in six innings in a 6-4 triumph over the Chicago White Sox. The 24-year-old has yielded just 13 earned runs in his last seven starts. Porcello improved to 7-5 in his career versus Minnesota after scattering three hits and striking out five over seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 win on June 14.
1. Cabrera has just four hits - all singles - in 14 at-bats versus Pelfrey.
2. Minnesota C Joe Mauer is riding a seven-game hitting streak.
3. Detroit C Alex Avila could return to the lineup later this week after being sidelined with a concussion. He was eligible to return on Sunday, but manager Jim Leyland elected to go the cautious route.