Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Tigers vs. Twins: Detroit beats Minnesota again, closes in on AL Central crown

A clutch home run by Prince Fielder gave the Tigers a win on Sunday and put them one step closer to clinching the AL Central title.

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Detroit closes Twins series with defensive win

The Minnesota Twins could only muster one run off of 10 hits, and the Detroit Tigers used a Prince Fielder home run to take a 2-1 victory Sunday at Target Field. With the win, the 86-73 Tigers hold a 2.5 game lead on the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.

The defenses ruled until the bottom of the seventh inning, when Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe led off with a single. Pinch runner Jamey Carroll reached second base on a sacrifice out, and shortstop Pedro Florimon singled to right field to push Carroll across the plate, giving Minnesota a 1-0 lead.

Detroit answered in the eighth inning after Twins starting pitcher Liam Hendriks was pulled for Jared Burton. Austin Jackson singled to lead off for the Tigers, and with two outs, Fielder launched a home run to left field to swing the game in Detroit's favor.

Detroit starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez went 6.1 innings and gave up seven hits and one run. Hendriks went seven innings and allowed five hits with no runs crossing the plate on his watch.

Jackson and Andy Dirks each had two hits for the Tigers.

The Tigers open the regular season series finale against the Kansas City Royals on Monday.

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Verlander takes hill for Detroit against Minnesota

The Detroit Tigers will look to ace Justin Verlander to get them back on the winning track on Saturday afternoon when they take on the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

Here's the Tigers' lineup for Saturday:

The Tigers lost 4-2 to the lowly Twins on Friday night, and with the Chicago White Sox's victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, saw their lead in the American League Central trimmed to just one game. Having Verlander on the bump should be a huge boost, as last year's Cy Young winner as been lights out once again this year. Heading into Saturday's start, he holds a 16-8 record and 2.72 ERA. He leads all of MLB with 231 strikeouts.

Slugger Miguel Cabrera will continue his chase for the Triple Crown against Twins starter P.J. Walters. Cabrera currently leads the A.L. in batting average and RBI, but trails Josh Hamilton by one home run.

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Tigers' Scherzer '50/50' for final start of season

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer is "50/50" to start in the team's regular season finale next Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals due to a shoulder injury.

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Tigers look to right ship in Minnesota

The Detroit Tigers' lead in the A.L. Central was sliced to one game on Friday after they lost to the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox picked up a win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Saturday brings another opportunity for the Tigers to inch toward the playoffs by defeating one of the worst teams in the American League.

The good news for the Tigers is that they'll be throwing ace Justin Verlander, who has been typically stellar down the stretch this season. Verlander has faced the Twins once this season, giving up one earned run and striking out seven in a complete game four-hitter on July 4.

The flipside for Detroit is that they'll be facing Twins starter P.J. Walters, who has been dominant in three starts this year against the Tigers. In those starts, Walters has given up only six earned runs in 18.1 innings. The Tigers, though, have totaled 25 baserunners in those innings and have only struck out ten times.

First pitch on Saturday is at 4:05 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on FOX.

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Smyly replaces Scherzer for 1st-place Tigers

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer has been scratched from his scheduled start on Friday night against the Minnesota Twins, as the AL's leader in strikeouts per nine innings has a strained deltoid. Drew Smyly (4-3, 4.24 ERA) will start in his place.

Scherzer won't throw again until he is fully recovered, according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Bless You Boys), which means the remainder of the season is in jeopardy for the 28-year-old righty.

Scott Diamond (12-8, 3.64 ERA) will be on the mound for Minnesota. Here are the full lineups:

Tigers

1. Austin Jackson CF
2. Omar Infante 2B
3. Miguel Cabrera 3B
4. Prince Fielder 1B
5. Delmon Young DH
6. Jhonny Peralta SS
7. Andy Dirks LF
8. Avisail Garcia RF
9. Gerald Laird C

Twins

1. Denard Span CF
2. Ben Revere RF
3. Joe Mauer C
4. Justin Morneau 1B
5. Ryan Doumit DH
6. Trevor Plouffe 3B
7. Matt Carson LF
8. Eduardo Escobar 2B
9. Pedro Florimon SS

The Tigers used this exact lineup last weekend against Diamond and the Twins. It didn't work extremely well, though, as Detroit lost that game, 10-4. First pitch for Friday's game is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET.

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