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Tigers vs. Twins: Minnesota assumes role of spoiler as season draws to close

The Minnesota Twins briefly played spoiler, but lost on Saturday to the Detroit Tigers.

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Twins look to spoil Detroit's playoff hopes

The Minnesota Twins look to play spoiler to the Detroit Tigers on Sunday. The Tigers hope to extend their lead in the AL Central, where they currently hold a two-game lead over the Chicago White Sox with only four games left to play.

Anibal Sanchez (9-13, 3.95) takes the mound for Detroit, looking to carry over the success from his last start -- a three-hit shutout against the Kansas City Royals.

For Minnesota, Liam Hendriks (1-8, 6.09) gets the start. Hendriks got shelled for six runs including four homers against the New York Yankees his last time out.

Detroit Tigers

1. Austin Jackson, CF
2. Quintin Berry, LF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Delmon Young, DH
6. Andy Dirks, RF
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
8. Alex Avila, C
9. Omar Infante, 2B
Pitching: Anibal Sanchez

Minnesota Twins

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, CF
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Ryan Doumit, LF
6. Chris Parmelee, 1B
7. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
8. Alexi Casilla, 2B
9. Pedro Florimon, SS
Pitching: Liam Hendriks

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Twins can't play spoiler on Saturday

The Minnesota Twins can only play spoiler at this point, as they share the basement with the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. On Friday, they made things tougher on the Detroit Tigers by picking up a 4-2 win, but weren't able to repeat that on Saturday, falling 6-4 in their penultimate game against Detroit.

Justin Verlander picked up the win for the Tigers, as he gave up just one run off of four hits through seven strong innings. He also had eight strikeouts on the day, while Minnesota starter P.J. Walters only managed to last five innings, with two runs off of four hits and five strikeouts. One of those hits was a solo home run by Prince Fielder in the second inning to give Detroit the lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Miguel Cabrera and Andy Dirks both managed home runs as well, in the eighth inning. Minnesota briefly brought it back in the eighth with a Ryan Doumit grand slam that scored Denard Span, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Jose Valverde took over in the bottom of the ninth for the Tigers and brought down Ben Revere, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau after a leadoff walk.

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P.J. Walters aims to continue success vs. Detroit

The Minnesota Twins helped to maintain a tight A.L. Central race on Friday night when they defeated the Detroit Tigers, which allowed the Chicago White Sox to pick up a game in the division race. Minnesota can further complicate things for the Tigers with another win on Saturday, but it will likely be a considerably more difficult task.

That's because the Twins will be facing Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who is potentially closing in on his second straight Cy Young award. Verlander has been stellar in September, but will be making only his second start all year vs. the Twins. Of course, in his one other start against Minnesota in 2012, he pitched a four-hit complete game in which he struck out seven and allowed only a single run.

The Twin will counter with P.J. Walters, whose last start came against the Tigers at Comerica Park. In that game, Walters gave up only one earned run in five innings in a 2-1 Twins victory. Walters has made two other starts against Detroit this season, giving up only six earned runs in 18.1 total innings pitched.

First pitch is at 3:05 p.m. CT and the game will be broadcast on FOX.

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Diamond, Twins stymie Detroit on Friday night

The Minnesota Twins squandered a two-run lead late in Friday night's game but snatched back just as quickly en route to a 4-2 victory over the A.L. Central-leading Detroit Tigers. The Twins grabbed a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the seventh after a Ryan Doumit homer off of Tigers reliever Phil Coke, but the Tigers quickly tied the game in the top of the eighth when Omar Infante homered to legt. Doumit struck back in the bottom of the inning with a two-run double that would prove to be decisive.

Along with claiming all four of Minnesota's RBI, Doumit also had two of the team's four hits. The Tigers were stymied by Scott Diamond who threw 7.1 scoreless innings and only allowed one earned run. Jared Burton and Glen Perkins combined for a perfect 1.2 innings in relief, with Burton picking up the victory and Perkins collecting his 16th save of the season.

The two teams will be back at Target Field on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. when Justin Verlander takes on P.J. Walters.

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