Series: Game 3 of 4

Minnesota leads 2-1 (as of 9/27)

Game 1: Thursday, September 25
Game 2: Friday, September 26
Game 3: Saturday, September 27
Game 4: Sunday, September 28

Twins 12

(70-91, 35-45 away)

Tigers 3

(89-72, 44-36 home)

    Coverage:  FSDT

    7:08 PM ET, September 27, 2014

    Comerica Park, Detroit, Michigan 

    123456789 R H E
    MIN 000060240 12 16 0
    DET 010001010 3 9 0

    W: R. Nolasco (6-12)

    L: K. Lobstein (1-2)

    Twins-Tigers Preview


    The Detroit Tigers are a day's work from wrapping up their fourth straight AL Central crown.

    They're also on the cusp of being tied for the division heading into the final day of the season.

    With a one-game lead, the Tigers can secure the division Saturday night at home with a win over the Minnesota Twins coupled with a Kansas City loss.

    Detroit (89-71), seeking its third 90-win season in four years, was in the same situation leading into Friday's 11-4 loss to the Twins (69-91). The loss combined with the Royals' playoff-clinching win over the Chicago White Sox, though, trimmed the lead to the minimum entering the weekend.

    "We're still up a game, so the pressure is all on the Royals," outfielder Rajai Davis said. "This is still in our hands."

    Miguel Cabrera went 3 for 4 with a home run, giving the slugger a .403 average during a 16-game hitting streak against Minnesota that has spanned the season.

    The club got a scoreless relief inning from Anibal Sanchez, who hadn't pitched since Aug. 8 due to a pectoral strain. He surrendered a hit to Danny Santana, who had three and is batting .388 in 15 games against Detroit.

    Kyle Lobstein will get an opportunity to pitch a division clincher in his sixth major league start.

    Lobstein (1-1, 3.38 ERA) made his big-league debut in Minnesota on Aug. 23 and allowed three runs and four hits with four walks in 5 2/3 relief innings of a 12-4 loss.

    The left-hander has since kept the Tigers in games with four of his five starts resulting in team wins. The blemish came in his deepest outing yet, Monday's 2-0 home loss to the White Sox after he surrendered two runs and five hits in seven innings.

    Prior to Friday, the Tigers had won three straight, and the opportunity to bounce back will come against one of baseball's most vulnerable arms, Ricky Nolasco.

    Nolasco (5-12, 5.47) hasn't pitched enough innings to qualify for the league leaders in ERA, and that's a good thing because if he did, he'd be last. His .319 opponents' batting average would also earn that undesirable distinction.

    What he is up against is becoming the first Twins pitcher with at least 150 innings pitched and an ERA above 5.50 since Carlos Silva's 5.94 mark in 2006.

    The right-hander gave up five runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings of Monday's 6-2 loss to Arizona, and he's aware that a strong outing against the Tigers won't do anything to fix the season he's had. In fact, it might do the opposite as a complete game would make him qualify for the league pitching leaders.

    "There's nothing I can do that's going to make me OK for the offseason," Nolasco told MLB's official website. "It's been a terrible year. I'm just trying to finish the year healthy. But there's nothing I can do to fix it from here on out."

    His previous start came at home against Detroit and went much better in a 4-3 win on Sept. 16. He didn't factor into the decision after turning in eight scoreless innings of five-hit ball.

    The Tigers haven't roughed him up like the rest of the league, with Nolasco posting a 2.03 ERA in two starts. Ian Kinsler, though, is 5 for 9 against him.

    Victor Martinez is 4 for 5, which could help the designated hitter's batting title pursuit. Martinez (.336) trails Houston's Jose Altuve by six percentage points.

    He's batting .397 in 17 games against Minnesota this season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Gameday Matchup

    Current StreakL1W1
    Last 105-56-4

    Pitching Matchup

    R. Nolasco
    6-12, 5.38 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/27 at DET
    6.0 IP, 2 ER
    Dec = Win
    K. Lobstein
    1-2, 4.35 ERA

    Last Game:
    9/27 vs MIN
    4.2 IP, 6 ER
    Dec = Loss

    Gameday Lineups

    1. D. Santana, SS I. Kinsler, 2B
    2. B. Dozier, 2B T. Hunter, RF
    3. J. Mauer, 1B M. Cabrera, 1B
    4. K. Vargas, DH V. Martinez, DH
    5. J. Pinto, C J. Martinez, LF
    6. O. Arcia, RF N. Castellanos, 3B
    7. E. Escobar, 3B A. Avila, C
    8. C. Herrmann, LF A. Romine, SS
    9. A. Hicks, CF R. Davis, CF