(Sports Network) – The Detroit Tigers try to continue their recent mastery of the Minnesota Twins this evening when the American League Central rivals play the rubber match of a three-game series at Comerica Park.
Detroit has handled the Twins this season, taking nine of the 11 matchups, including four of the five in the Motor City. Dating back to last season, the Tigers have won seven of eight at home in the series and 13 of their last 15 overall.
That was certainly the case on Tuesday, as Miguel Cabrera knocked in three runs and Justin Verlander pitched into the eighth inning to help the Tigers take a 7-1 victory.
Verlander (18-5) allowed one run on seven hits and a walk in 7 2/3 innings. He also struck out eight in his sixth straight and major league-leading 18th win.
“In the fourth, fifth and sixth [innings] I really got into it and started throwing my curveball much better,” said Verlander. “It’s a lot easier when your guys give you a seven-run lead.”
Ramon Santiago added a home run in Detroit’s fourth win in six games overall.
Nick Blackburn (7-10) allowed five runs on 11 hits and two walks in just 4 2/3 innings to take his fourth straight losing decision.
“These guys are tough. If you make a mistake they’re going to put it in play,” Blackburn said about Detroit. “That’s why they’re winning this division right now.”
Justin Morneau knocked in the lone run for the Twins, who won Monday’s opener, but have lost 12 of their last 15.
Getting the call for the Tigers tonight will be righty Brad Penny, who snapped a three-start losing streak his last time out. Penny defeated the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, holding them to four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings to run his record to 8-9 on the year to go along with a 4.99 ERA.
“We won, and that’s all I care about,” said Penny, who has given up 16 runs in 15 1/3 innings over his last three starts.
Penny lost to the Twins the last time he faced them and is 2-1 in five starts against them with a 5.64 ERA.
Minnesota, meanwhile, will counter with right-handed veteran Carl Pavano, who is 6-9 with a 4.55 ERA. Pavano did not get a decision on Friday in Cleveland, but pitched well, allowing one earned run in 7 1/3 innings of his team’s 3-2 loss. He hasn’t won since beating the Chicago White Sox back on July 7.
“Carl pitched about as good as you can pitch,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He pitched through a lot of bad plays defensively. He did everything he could possibly do and we couldn’t finish it off for him.”
Pavano was defeated by the Tigers back on July 21, but is 5-3 lifetime against them with a 4.12 ERA in 10 starts.