Venue: Comerica Park
After Joe Mauer's single saved them from being no-hit, the Minnesota Twins aren't likely to have it much easier against Doug Fister at Comerica Park.
The free-falling Twins will try to avoid their 11th straight defeat Saturday when Fister looks to continue his outstanding pitching at home for the Detroit Tigers.
Anibal Sanchez took a no-hitter into the ninth inning Friday before Mauer broke it up with a one-out single. That was the only hit the right-hander allowed in the Tigers' 6-0 victory.
"In the end, it's the result of my work. I try to figure out, to put my ball in the strike zone," Sanchez said. "It's a nice result, and I take it."
Behind Sanchez and a red-hot offense, Detroit (27-19) won its fourth in a row and leapfrogged Cleveland to reclaim first place in the AL Central.
The Tigers now look to take the first three in this four-game series with Fister (5-1, 3.62 ERA) on the mound.
While Fister has given up 10 runs and 17 hits over 7 2-3 innings in his last two road starts, he's 9-1 with a 2.94 ERA at home dating back to July, and has a 3.00 ERA while winning each of his four starts there this season.
The right-hander is 3-6 with a 3.13 ERA lifetime against Minnesota (18-27), though he hasn't given up an earned run over 17 innings in consecutive victories. He struck out seven and scattered seven hits in a complete-game 8-0 victory over the Twins at Comerica Park on Sept. 22.
This time, Fister faces a Minnesota team that has totaled 28 runs while hitting .219 during its longest skid since an 11-game slide Sept. 9-21, 2011.
"The ball isn't bouncing our way very well," Mauer said. "You just have to stay positive."
Mauer has been a bright spot, hitting .418 over his last 16 games, though he's 4 for 23 (.174) against Fister.
The All-Star catcher hasn't been able to get the most out of the Twins' starters, who have an 8.16 ERA while allowing 80 hits - including 12 homers - in 46 1-3 innings during the losing streak.
Scheduled starter P.J. Walters hopes to end that troubling trend as he makes his first major league appearance since September.
The right-hander went 2-5 with a 5.69 ERA in 12 starts last season, and he's 1-1 with a 3.09 ERA in four career outings against the Tigers.
Walters, who had a 3.31 ERA over 54 1-3 innings in nine starts at Triple-A Rochester this season, allowed two runs and four hits over five innings in a 6-4 loss to the Tigers in his last big league start Sept. 29.
Prince Fielder took Walters deep in that meeting and has five hits, including a pair of homers, in eight career at-bats in this matchup.
Andy Dirks is 7 for 17 with a homer in his last four games and may be able to stay hot since he's 3 for 7 with a home run off Walters.
Miguel Cabrera extended his hitting streak to 10 games with two-run single in the second inning Friday. The reigning AL MVP is 10 for 19 with six homers and 15 RBIs over his last five games. He leads the majors with a .388 average and 57 RBIs.
The Tigers are hitting .345 with 29 runs during their four-game winning streak, one shy of a season high.
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