Joe Mauer is enjoying a September to remember and the Minnesota Twins hope to follow suit if that path leads to a postseason berth. Fresh off his fifth performance of at least three hits in the month, Mauer and the Twins look to add to the Detroit Tigers’ misery on Friday when the American League Central rivals play the second contest of their four-game series at Comerica Park.
Minnesota saw its offense muster just six runs in a three-game sweep by the New York Yankees before erupting in a 12-1 rout of Detroit on Thursday. Mauer drove in a pair of runs and scored twice, improving to 30-for-75 with 16 RBIs in September to help the Twins hold a 2 1/2-game edge for the second wild-card spot. The tumbling Tigers have long since stopped looking at the standings, with 17 losses in their last 21 games providing extra incentive to steer clear of the scoreboard. Jeimer Candelario has 12 hits - including two homers - to go along with nine runs scored in his last eight games.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), FSN Detroit
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Kyle Gibson (11-10, 5.07 ERA) vs. Tigers LH Daniel Norris (4-7, 5.38)
Gibson improved to 5-0 in his last six trips to the mound despite allowing five runs - including two homers - and five walks in six innings of a 13-7 victory versus Toronto. The 29-year-old owns a 1-2 mark in four starts this season versus Detroit, although he has permitted 18 runs on 22 hits in 18 2/3 innings. Gibson has pitched better on the road, posting a 5-3 mark with a 4.39 ERA - which is over a full run less than his total at Target Field (5.65).
Norris is slated to make his first start since July 5 after being sidelined with a groin injury. The 24-year-old yielded two runs for the second time in his last four relief appearances during his three-inning stint versus the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. Norris has kept Mauer, Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler hitless, with the trio going a combined 0-for-11, although Robbie Grossman is 3-for-6 versus the hurler.
1. Polanco, who had three hits in the opener, is 7-for-15 with three RBIs during his four-game hitting streak.
2. Tigers RF Nicholas Castellano saw his 17-game hitting streak end on Thursday with an 0-for-4 performance, dropping him to 13-for-56 with 15 strikeouts versus the Twins this season.
3. Minnesota 2B Brian Dozier has scored a run in three straight games to raise his total to 17 for the month.
PREDICTION: Twins 6, Tigers 1