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Tigers Seek 3rd Straight Win Over Twins

(Sports Network) - Carl Pavano tries to match the best single-season win total of his career this evening, when the American League Central champion Minnesota Twins continue their three-game series against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.

Pavano, who won 18 games with the Florida Marlins back in 2004, hasn't pitched since September 16, when he won for the second time in three starts despite allowing five runs and eight hits in just five innings against theChicago White Sox.

Recently named the Twins' No. 2 starter for the playoffs, Pavano is 17-11 with a 3.60 ERA. He was given extra rest this week as he dealt with a stiff neck.

Pavano beat the Tigers the last time he faced them and is 5-2 lifetime against them with a 2.97 ERA in eight starts.

If the Twins are going to claim the best overall record in the American League, they will have to be better than they were in the opener of this set on Friday.

Jhonny Peralta hit a three-run homer and drove in a total of four runs to back Justin Verlander's fourth complete game of the season as Detroit rolled to a 10-1 win last night. Casper Wells hit a solo homer and knocked in a total of three runs for the Tigers, who have won six of seven, while Miguel Cabrera added a two-run blast.

Verlander (18-8) gave up one unearned run on five hits to win his fifth straight decision. The right-hander also struck out 11 batters and walked none.

"He was real good. He had a really good curveball again," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said of Verlander.

Michael Cuddyer drove in the lone run for the Twins, who secured the American League Central title on Tuesday. Minnesota saw a three-game win streak come to an end and is tied with the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays for the best record in the Junior Circuit.

Francisco Liriano (14-9), who will be the team's Game 1 starter in the ALDS, went three-plus innings before leaving the game due to illness. He gave up two runs on four hits to suffer his second straight loss.

"I've been sick since my last start," Liriano said. "I've got allergies now, and I feel dizzy. I haven't eaten well in three or four days. I feel real weak. I think I'll be OK for my next start. Hopefully, I'll be OK."

Tonight Detroit will rely on the right arm of Jeremy Bonderman, who is 8-9 with a 4.92 ERA. Bonderman did not get a decision on Sunday against the White Sox, as he surrendered three runs (one earned) and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 9-7 Tigers' win.

Bonderman has faced the Twins 18 times (16 starts) and is 5-6 with a 5.35 ERA in those outings.

Minnesota has won nine of its 16 matchups with the Tigers this season, but is just 2-5 in the seven games contested in Detroit.