Twins-Tigers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated July 01, 2012
Following a strong finish to a 10-game road trip, the Detroit Tigers return home looking to get back to .500 for the first time in more than six weeks. The Minnesota Twins have built some momentum of their own heading to Comerica Park. Doug Fister hopes to rebound from his worst start of the season and help the Tigers record a third consecutive victory Monday night by ending the Twins' three-game winning streak. After dropping two of three at both Pittsburgh and Texas, Detroit (39-40) took three of four against Tampa Bay to finish 5-5 on its trip. Prince Fielder and Alex Avila each had two hits and an RBI in Sunday's 5-3 win over the Rays. "That's a good sign for us," said leadoff hitter Austin Jackson, batting .400 (14 for 35) with 11 runs in his last eight games. "That just says a lot about the team. Just coming out of the funk a little bit." Third in the AL Central but just three games behind first-place Chicago, the Tigers now try to reach .500 for the first time since they were 18-18 on May 15. "Play hard, see what happens," Fielder said. "When you have talent, talent usually comes through, with hard work." Fielder, who joins teammates Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander on the AL All-Star team, hit .211 on the trip but is 11 for 18 with a home run and six RBIs in five games against Minnesota this season. Though Detroit swept a three-game set at Minnesota (33-45) from May 25-27, it dropped both games of a brief home series against the Twins earlier in May. Fister (1-5, 3.91 ERA) fell to 1-5 with a 3.43 ERA in six career starts against the Twins after he allowed four runs and two homers in six innings of a 4-3 loss at Comerica Park on May 17. The right-hander dropped his second straight start overall Wednesday when he was tagged for nine runs and three homers in 4 1-3 innings of a 13-9 loss at Texas. It was Fister's third start since a stint on the disabled list with a strained left side. He had been much better in the first two, posting a 1.50 ERA. Minnesota's Trevor Plouffe has one hit in six at-bats versus Fister, but that one left the park. Plouffe hit a pair of solo homers as the Twins overcame a four-run deficit then held on for a 10-8 win over Kansas City on Sunday. The third baseman went 5 for 11 with three home runs and two doubles while Minnesota won the final three of a four-game home set against the Royals. "I'm not trying to hit home runs. I can tell you that much," said Plouffe, whose 13 homers since the beginning of June rank second in the majors to Jose Bautista. Teammate Josh Willingham homered for the second straight game Sunday. Liam Hendriks (0-5, 6.82) looks to avoid a sixth consecutive losing start for Minnesota on Monday as he tries again for his first career win. The right-hander, who is 0-7 while allowing 13 home runs in his first 11 major league starts, allowed three runs in a season-high 6 1-3 innings of a 3-2 loss to the White Sox on Tuesday. "I'm still searching for that No. 1," Hendriks told the Twins' official website. "It'll come. I'm not too worried about it. I just need to keep throwing up quality starts and hopefully we can snag a couple." This will be his first appearance against the Tigers.
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