Tigers try to stay atop AL Central with win Saturday

AL Central lead down to 1 game heading into Saturday


DETROIT – Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier is batting just .243 but his production soars whenever the Twins play the Detroit Tigers. Dozier is batting .365 with four homers and 16 RBIs against the Tigers this season entering Saturday's third contest of a four-game set in Detroit. The Tigers need to worry about more than Dozier as they hold just a one-game lead over the Kansas City Royals in the American League Central race.

The Twins dealt Detroit a blow with an 11-4 win on Friday as Dozier went 3-for-5 with a homer, three RBIs and three runs scored and Oswaldo Arcia also went deep and drove in three runs. The Tigers will have another opportunity to clinch the division on Saturday – provided the Royals lose to the White Sox and Detroit beats Minnesota. The Tigers went through six relievers while getting pummeled for 15 hits on Friday.

TV: 7:08 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), FSN Detroit

PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Ricky Nolasco (5-12, 5.47 ERA) vs. Tigers LH Kyle Lobstein (1-1, 3.38)

Nolasco has lost six consecutive starts during a nine-start winless stretch. He fell to Arizona in his last turn when he gave up five runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. Nolasco excelled against the Tigers in his previous start when he allowed five hits during eight shutout innings while receiving a no-decision.

Lobstein suffered his first major-league defeat in his last turn when he gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings. He has allowed two or fewer runs in four of his five major-league starts, including a 10-strikeout performance against Cleveland on Sept. 2. Lobstein gave up three runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings of relief against Minnesota in his major-league debut on Aug. 23.


1. Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera has gone deep in each of the first two games of the series and has eight homers and 10 doubles in September.

2. Minnesota SS Danny Santana had three hits on Friday and is batting .388 in 67 at-bats against the Tigers this season.

3. Detroit 2B Ian Kinsler is 5-for-9 against Nolasco, and DH Victor Martinez is 4-for-5.